Winston questions P83-M Capitol consultancies

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita November 09,2015 - 12:03 AM
One Cebu gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia shows documents to the press on the two Capitol consultancy projects. With him is running mate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

One Cebu gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia shows documents to the press on the two Capitol consultancy projects. With him is running mate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

ONE Cebu gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia questioned yesterday two proposed consultancy projects of the Capitol, saying these were “unnecessary, scandalous and very questionable.”

One is for P26 million for the development of a disaster risk reduction and climate change plans for towns and cities, and the other is worth P57 million for detailed architecural and engineering design services for a proposed 12-story building in the Capitol compound.

Both notices were posted in the province’s website by the bids and awards committee headed by Mark Tolentino, provincial administrator, on September and October.

With the second anniversary of supertyphoon Yolanda observed on Nov. 8, Garcia said “I cannot understand why the Capitol would use Yolanda for political purposes,” saying he suspected the money may be used instead for campaign spending.

“I think this is the worst form of governance.”

The P26-million consultancy service is part of Cebu province’s 2015 annual budget.

The Capitol posted a “request for expression of interest” for parties who can provide consultancy services “for maintreaming” disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation (DRRM-CCA) in Cebu province.

This involves Phase 1 for the development of DRRM-CCA and contingency plans of Cebu’s 51 municipalities and component cities.

Garcia called on Gov. Hilario Davide III and Capitol officials to explain these consultancy projects and to withdraw it.

“Otherwise, if they will proceed, we will question this with COA and file criminal charges before the Office of the Ombudsman,” Garcia said.

Cebu Daily News sought comment from the Capitol whose provincial information officer Ethel Natera said a statement would be issued today.

Garcia said instead of hiring consultants, the province should give more attention to Yolanda victims who have not been attended to.

This was echoed by One Cebu vice gubernatorial candidate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz who said they visited Bantayan Island and were told by residents that they needed evacuation centers.

“First of all, be transparent about this. Tell the public. Number two, I challenge him to withdraw this plan,” said Garcia.

The published notice states that documents would be opened on Sept. 18 and that the BAC would draw up a short list of eligible prospective bidders with bidding limited to NGOs accredited by the Province of Cebu in line with the

Government Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act 9184.

Garcia said this was tantmount to a bidding for consultants.

“The P26-million consultancy for disaster is a scam. There is no way that can ever be justified,” Garcia said.

He said there was “something fishy” about the notice that he suspects it is “rigged.”

“We have word from inside the Capitol that they will use this (money) for the elections and for political campaign advertisements,” Garcia said.

Garcia is also questioning another posted notice for a P57 million consultancy service for the preparation of detailed architectural and engineering design, feasibility study, and construction supervision for a proposed 12-story building for the province in the Capitol Compound.

The notice said submission of eligibility documents of interested bidders and opening of the papers was scheduled last September 11.

The same criteria was observed for the shortlisting of interested bidders and that an open competitive bidding would follow the shortlisting.

In a supplemental bid bulletin by the province’s BAC dated October 22, it said a pre-bidding conference was already held last October 16 for the P57-million consultancy project.

“This is a 12-story white elephant in the Capitol compound,” said Garica.

“They complained that the Cebu International Convention Center is a white elephant. Now this is a building project worth P800 million, it is an overpriced 12-story white elephant. It’s absolutely unnecessary,” Garcia said.

He said based on architectural standards, a consultancy service for a building costs seven percent of the total building cost.

That was Garcia’s basis for estimating the Capitol’s 12-story building project at P800 million.

He said the Capitol should instead use the funds to improve district hospitals.

“I am sure, from how it is worded, that the award of consultancy will be a rigged consultancy project to allow some unscrupulous Capitol officials to make money from this contract,” Garcia said.

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TAGS: candidate, Capitol, Cebu, election, Nerissa Soon Ruiz, politics, Winston Garcia

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