THE Cebu Provincial Government plans to renegotiate its deal with the Mandaue City Government over the sale of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
The Commission on Audit (COA) has called the Province’s attention to the 2018 sale of the CICC to Mandaue City without conducting a bidding or getting approval from state auditors.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she plans to meet with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes to discuss the terms on renegotiating the deal.
“Because I already knew that COA would disallow the sale of CICC so I told Mayor Jonas Cortes that there’s a possibility that we have to renegotiate as the proper procedures were not even observed and the sale was made without prior COA approval,” Garcia said.
Reiterating her promise after winning the gubernatorial post in 2019, Garcia said she had made it her policy to recover Capitol-owned properties that were donated and disposed during the time of her predecessor, then Cebu governor and now Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III.
In September 2019, the Provincial Board issued a resolution for the recovery of Capitol-owned properties which were considered illegally sold.
Garcia said Capitol has recovered from the Ayala group some of its properties and has written to several agencies about its plan to recover properties that were not properly disposed.
As for CICC’s case, Garcia said she had wanted to talk to Cortes but had to put a meeting on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But following COA’s report, Garcia said she will have to push through with the renegotiation with Mandaue City.
In a 2019 audit report, state auditors questioned the 2018 sale of the CICC by Davide’s administration to the Mandaue City Government led by then Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing without conducting a public bidding and securing prior approval from the COA.
State auditors recommended to the current Capitol administration to require those responsible for the transaction to explain why existing regulations were disregarded.
In a management comment, Garcia and Capitol officials told state auditors that they have written Davide for his comment on the matter but the vice governor has yet to respond.
The CICC, which cost around P840 million to build, was sold for P300 million in 2018. The three-storey structure was built purposely to be used as venue for the Association of Southeast Asia (Asean) summit in 2006. It has fallen into a state of dilapidation and has since been abandoned.
During that time, Davide was earlier quoted that he wanted to sell the CICC because of its derelict condition after it was hit by an earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda before. (ANV/JKV)