Rama to terminate contract of new CCMC contractor

"I HAVE to cross the Rubicon. The die is cast.”

This was the statement issued by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama during a press conference on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, after he announced that he will terminate the contract of M.E. Sicat Construction, which has been working on the seventh to 10th floors of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

Rama could no longer bear the delay in the construction of the public hospital, which was started in 2015 during his second term as mayor.

"As your mayor, I have decided to cancel or in effect we will pursue the cancellation of the constructive works under the law with observance of due process at this point in time I have become impatient for the people. All construction works are hereby canceled and surely due process will be observe," he said.

Jerone Castillo, special assistant on projects under the mayor’s office and former city attorney, said the mayor can terminate the contract with M.E. Sicat under Republic Act 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

"(Their) failure to comply with a valid instruction of the procuring entity under these rules is enough basis for us to terminate the contract. They failed to deliver what they were supposed to do, based on the contract, based on their obligation, based on their commitment to the mayor as head of the procuring entity,” he said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

The mayor’s office has created a contract termination review committee, as prescribed by law, to give due process to the involved party.

Rama, for his part, said he doesn’t understand why the project is not yet finished after seven years, considering enough funds were allocated for its construction.

As a result, he said, the City has failed to provide basic services, especially health.

"It is my view that they have been shortchanged of an expected health, medical and diagnostic services and impatient as to the poor realization of their dream hospital for the poor with the rich man’s service," he said.

The mayor said there won’t be a public bidding, adding that members of the bids and awards committee will find a way so that the City Government won’t have to spend to finish the CCMC.

"No more (public bidding), I have enough of it. As much as possible we resort to certain arrangement, if there is a will there is a way," he said.

The M.E. Sicat won the P900-million contract to finish the shell of the seventh up to the 10th floor of the CCMC in April 2022.

However, when he recently inspected the site, there was no progress in the construction.

"Wa man gyud koy nakitan nga kalihukan didto sa seventh floor. Therefore, it’s about time. It’s about time," he said.

At the end of July 2022, however, the contractor and CCMC management, together with the DEPW, told Rama that they will concentrate on finishing the third and fourth floors so these could be used for daily operations by October 28, the mayor's birthday. Rama approved this request.

Meanwhile, Rama said there is a Cebuano philanthropist who wants to remain anonymous who is willing to help finish the construction of the 10-story facility. (PAC, PJB)