One-stop government center to rise on CICC site in Mandaue

·3 min read

ON THE site of the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) will rise a government center of Mandaue City.

Mayor Jonas Cortes told SunStar Cebu that this would be their plan should the legality of the sale of the building by the Cebu Provincial Government to Mandaue City be finalized.

Cortes revealed this after a series of talks with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other provincial officials in 2021, who he said took the initiative to finalize what he called the belated approval of the CICC sale.

“Pasalamat ko ni (I thank) Governor Gwen and the provincial officials for this initiative, ang lakang nga ilang gihimo para makasugod na ta sa (the steps they took so we can start) clearing sa atong future government center,” he said, adding that they will start the clearing next year once everything has been ironed out.

Cortes noted that it is long overdue, as Mandaue is a highly urbanized city and yet its government offices and departments are built in different places far from each other.

With this, the mayor said, they will have a one-stop shop to make it easy for constituents to access the offices and departments for government transactions.

As for the fire victims temporarily housed at the CICC grounds, Cortes said the City plans to build a medium-rise socialized housing structure near the areas where their houses were razed by the fire.

Once they move to the future government center, Cortes said, the current Mandaue City Hall, commonly referred to as Mandaue Presidencia, will be used as a cultural heritage park since the structure itself is historical.

The mayor said the building will be transformed into a museum and library.

The parking area will be transformed into a park, where people can go to relax and enjoy.

The CICC was built in time for the 12th Asean Summit and 2nd East Asia Summit in 2007.

Davide decided to sell the CICC after two earthquakes and super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) heavily damaged the building.

John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Cortes, told SunStar Tuesday that the building was “unsafe” and “subject to demolition.”

COA’s questions

In 2018, former governor and now Vice Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III sold the P830 million CICC for P300 million to Mandaue City, then under the leadership of Mayor Luigi Quisumbing.

In 2020, state auditors recommended that the current Capitol administration require those responsible for the transaction to explain why existing regulations, which required the conduct of a public bidding and prior approval of the Commission on Audit (COA), were disregarded.

In their 2019 audit report, state auditors cited COA Circular 2017-003 as basis for the disallowance.

The circular states that real estate and their improvements by the local government unit “may be sold to other government or private entities under sealed bids, or by negotiation if a sealed bid has failed as defined herein at a price to be determined by the Committee on Awards.”

The circular also states that the disposal of any local government-owned properties is not only subject to approval by the local Sanggunian, but also by the COA in case the disposal is through negotiation regardless of the value of the property to be disposed of.

On Aug. 22, 2017, the Provincial Board and the Mandaue City Council allowed Davide and Quisumbing, respectively, to enter into a deal to mutually terminate the joint venture agreement and contract to sell for the CICC.

But state auditors noted the documents embodying the provisions of the agreement did not mention any failed bidding previously conducted by both parties.

The deed of absolute sale was executed on Oct. 2, 2018, conveying that Mandaue City has absolute and unconditional ownership of the CICC.

“In so doing, however, the Provincial Government did not secure the required COA approval of the negotiated sale prior to the execution of the deed of absolute sale, thus review of the reasonableness of the selling price as well as the propriety and conformity of the sale with existing regulations was not conducted,” state auditors concluded.

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