Contractor Sicat agrees to stop building CCMC

THE Cebu City Government and the private contractor of the Cebu City Medical Center have reached a “gentlemen’s agreement” to mutually terminate the contract for the hospital’s construction.

Lawyer Collin Rosell, executive secretary of Mayor Michael Rama, said Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, that the city government is now computing how much will be paid to the contractor for the work it has done so far.

Rosell said Rama and engineer Michael Allan Sicat, who represents the joint venture of M.E. Sicat Construction Inc. and Avecs Corp., had already agreed to a mutual cessation of the P908 million contract of Phase 4 of the CCMC project.

Lawyer Jerone Castillo, Rama’s special assistant on projects, said the City will now explore other modalities that can be used to construct the CCMC without relying on the government’s procurement law.

This includes the possibility of finishing the construction through a public-private partnership, he said.

Rosell and Castillo explained that similar to the scheme used for the two medium-rise buildings (MRBs) in Barangay Lorega that were intended for informal settlers, the next contractor will continue the construction of the CCMC and turn the project over to the Cebu City Government once completed.

The MRBs in Lorega were built by Cebu Landmasters Inc. as part of the company’s compliance with the required Balanced Housing Development Program under the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992.

“We will explore these modalities, and we will recommend to the mayor what is best so that this project will really be performed and executed according to his commitment to the people of Cebu,” said Castillo.

Construction delay

Assistant City Engineer Lowell Corminal said M.E. Sicat Construction has already incurred an 11.72 percent negative slippage or delay in construction works as of October 2022.

Corminal said this percentage may still go up as city engineers are still conducting a further evaluation to reconcile the actual accomplishment and planned accomplishment.

He also explained that once a contractor registers a five percent negative slippage, the procuring entity will issue its first warning. A final warning will come when the slippage reaches 10 percent.

Once the negative slippage further increases to 15 percent, the procuring entity can now have the right to terminate the contract.

The negative slippage is a computation based on the actual accomplishment of the contractor from the planned accomplishment which is submitted and approved by the contractor and the Department of Engineering and Public Works, said engineer Danny Urot, the project manager of CCMC.

Structural Integrity

The private contractor of the project said they had not begun work on the structural works going to the eighth floor since their architects and engineers were still conducting an inspection on the strength of the foundation of the CCMC, as they were not the ones who built the hospital’s lower floors.

Corminal said the contractor has already submitted its preliminary findings of the structural investigation that it conducted.

However, the DEPW is questioning the contractor’s findings because it was not signed and sealed to ascertain its authenticity, Corominal said.

Total spending

Since 2015, almost P2 billion has already been spent by the Cebu City Government for the construction of the new CCMC, but until now the building is not yet finished.

The amount spent included P566.085 million for Phase 1 of the project that was done by C.E. Padilla Construction Inc., P36.33 million for Phase 1.1 awarded to Charlz Construction, P299 million for Phase 2 that was awarded to C.E. Padilla, and Phase 3 worth P99.72 million that went to winning bidder C.B. Garay Philwide Builders.

Phase 4 of the project worth P907.99 million was awarded to the M.E. Sicat Construction joint venture, which became controversial after Mayor Michael Rama announced on Nov. 9, 2022 the termination of the contract with the contractor.

For Phase 4, the City Government has already released 15 percent of the contract price or P136,199,980 as partial payment to the contractor, he added.

Rosell said they also checked whether the records of the City and those of Sicat match based on the completion rate of the contractor and the advance payment that the contractor received from the City Government.

He said the City Government is willing to pay Sicat whatever it lacks in terms of payment.

The two lawyers said Rama wanted to hasten the completion of the government hospital, which according to them, would impose “zero billing” on patients upon discharge. (TPT)