Sicat calls, but Rama firm on cancelling CCMC contract

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has remained firm on his decision to terminate the contract between the Cebu City Government and the joint venture of M.E. Sicat Construction Inc. and Avecs Corp., which is handling the construction of Phase 4 of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, Rama disclosed that M.E. Sicat Construction president Michael Allan Sicat has been trying to reach out and talk to him over the phone.

But Rama said he told Sicat on Monday that the matter is already being left to the mayor’s lawyers as the direction of the City Government is to reach the termination of the contract.

“I was able to talk because he (Sicat) kept on calling me. So I finally called him today and of course, told him that the matter is already being left to my lawyers. Somehow we will wait because the direction is really termination,” said Rama.

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Rama announced that he would terminate the contract of the joint venture of M.E. Sicat Construction and Avecs Corp., which is undertaking Phase 4 of the CCMC’s construction.

Rama said that during his conversation with Sicat, he never entertained any talk about reconsidering his decision on terminating the contract.

Lawyer Collin Rosell, executive secretary of Rama who is also leading the Contract Termination Review Committee together with lawyer Jerone Castillo, said the termination of the contract has not been finalized yet.

“Ang formal nga cancellation now is between the City and the contractor kay gitagaan man sila og due process, but the way I am seeing it, paingon nana ma finalize and ma-arrive ang mga terms for mutual decision. Akong tan-aw ana (it’s already) agreed in principle ug adto na na paingon (sa termination) because it has been declared already nga gi take over na na ang CCMC,” said Rosell.

SunStar Cebu reached out to Sicat and the latter confirmed that he had talked with Rama. Sicat, however, declined to divulge what they discussed.

Structural integrity

An anonymous individual posted in the Facebook group named “Cebu City Officials, Employees, and Friends” that there are already findings of the structural integrity inspection of the first seven floors of the CCMC that was conducted by M.E. Sicat.

“Dapat ipagawas sa DEPW or Engr. Kenneth Enriquez ang result sa structural examination sa CCMC, para makita ang naghiwi nga poste sa ground floor nga delikado mo-collapse!” read a portion of the post.

(DEPW or Engr. Kenneth Enriquez should release the results of the structural examination of the CCMC, to show the posts on the ground floor that were not set straight and are in danger of collapse!)

M.E Sicat Construction won the public bidding of Phase 4 of the CCMC project which involved building the remaining three floors to complete the 10-story hospital, and finishing the interiors of the third and fourth floors of the building.

The contract was awarded last April with a total budget of P908 million, but as of now, the contractor has not been able to start the construction of the additional floors.

The Department of Engineering and Public Works, management of the Cebu City Medical Center, and M.E. Sicat Construction itself asked Rama that while waiting for the results of the structural integrity test of the building, they will complete first the interior portion of the third and fourth floors so that these can be used in the CCMC’s operations.

Rama agreed but still asked the contractor to try to complete the construction of the CCMC on his 68th birthday last Oct. 28, but this was not achieved.

As of Nov. 9, work was still being done to finish the third and fourth floors.

The next day, the hundreds of workers engaged by the contractor to work on the CCMC were no longer allowed to enter the worksite.

Sicat, however, believes he is still compliant with the contract, telling SunStar last week that the contract gave him 570 calendar days from April 6, 2022, to complete Phase 4 of the CCMC.

Under their Construction Agreement, the Cebu City Government may terminate the contract if the contractor incurs a delay of more than seven days in any phase of the project, or in the event of a substantial deviation by the contractor from the approved plans.

The Cebu City Government would also be able to terminate the contract if the M.E. Sicat Construction/Avecs Corp. joint venture “does not show satisfactory progress in the works, and has already incurred a negative slippage of 15 percent or more based on contract duration.”

The Cebu City Government has not specified how the contractor failed to meet its contract obligations.

Work on the new CCMC along Natalio Bacalso Ave. in Barangay Pahina Central, began in 2015 yet.

The M.E. Sicat joint venture is the fourth contractor to take on the hospital project.

The first three phases of construction involved three other contractors: C.E. Padilla Construction Inc., C.B. Garay Philwide Builders and Charlz Construction. (IRT, PAC)