Contractor: Mutual termination of contract for Phase 4 of new CCMC ‘best solution’

THE M.E. Sicat Construction Inc. has sent a letter to the Cebu City Government asking for a “mutual termination” of the P907-million contract for the fourth phase of the construction of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

Michael Sicat, president of M.E. Sicat Construction, said that even though he was disappointed by the turn of events, he thought this was the best solution.

Mayor Michael Rama had announced he would terminate M.E. Sicat Construction’s contract because he could no longer bear the delay in the completion of the public hospital, whose construction was started in 2015 during his second term as mayor.

The Office of the Mayor, through Jerone Castillo, Rama’s special assistant on projects, referred the letter, dated Nov. 15, 2022, to the contract termination review committee (CTRC) for appropriate action.

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the CTRC passed a resolution calling on the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) to submit its verified report regarding Phase 4 of the construction.

CTRC chairman Carl Vincent Gimena, who convened the committee for the first time on Tuesday, Nov. 22, said they were waiting for the reply of DEPW head Carmelita Kenneth Enriquez and DEPW assistant head Lowell Corminal, as this will serve as basis for their recommendation.

He explained that this is part of the due process set forth by Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, for the cancellation of contracts.

Meanwhile, Collin Rosell, the mayor’s secretary, said the mutual termination of the contract was, in principle, already approved.

The City Government had ordered the contractor to stop work on the third and fourth floors of the CCMC in the first week of November.

Corminal, for his part, said the City Government had released an advance payment of P136.1 million, or 15 percent of the contract price, after M.E. Sicat Construction was issued a notice to proceed with Phase 4 of construction last April 6.

However, the contractor didn’t formally start work until April 13 with the completion date targeted on Nov. 23, 2023.

Based on the accomplished report shown by the DEPW, M.E. Construction has achieved a completion rate of 16.427 percent last October.

Mayor Rama had said he would finish the 10-story CCMC without a public bidding because “I have enough of it.”

Rosell said the Cebu City Government would enter into a public-private partnership like what it did with the medium-rise building in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel in which the contractor turned over the building to the City after the construction.

The City Government has already spent almost P2 billion for the construction of the new CCMC, but seven and a half years later the building is still unfinished. (PAC / PJB)