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Davide says questioned expenses are necessary

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/JMO (The Freeman) - November 9, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - “These are absolutely, absolutely necessary.”

This was the remark of Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III in defense of the P80 million consultancy projects of Capitol questioned by lawyer Winston Garcia for being “unnecessary” and a “scam”.

Garcia said earlier the P57-million consultancy services to prepare for detailed architectural and engineering plans for the proposed 12-story building at the Capitol compound, the P26-million for the development of disaster risk reduction-climate change adaptation, and contingency plans are too much, thus, scandalous.

Davide, however, described Garcia’s statements as “misleading and malicious.”

He said both consultancies are necessary, being part of his Six Key Agenda.

“This administration has always been open and transparent.  We follow standard procedures. During the bidding process, the Commission on Audit was invited and was present, and even asked questions. Both consultancies had budgets approved by our Provincial Board,” he told reporters.

He added that the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) consultancy project went through the Provincial Development Council (PDC) with mayors and representatives from the private groups as members, a participative process being observed only in the present administration.

“In the previous leadership, the PDC was a one-man team,” he said.

“How then can these consultancies be anomalous? Only scandalous and short-sighted people can see it that way. People with anomalous minds, used to anomalous ways can attribute anomalous motives to others,” he added.

On the issue against the consultancy service for the 12-story building, Davide explained Capitol needs to outsource the study because the competency of the Provincial Engineering Office is limited only to horizontal designing such as roads, while their experience for vertical developments is only for two-story school buildings.

The proposed 12-story structure would replace the old Bureau of Agriculture extension (Baex) building, which has been standing idle and deemed unusable after it suffered damage from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013.

“We badly need office space, after the closure of the BAEX building… The costing of the study is based on industry practice and is within industry standards. We are undertaking this major capital outlay with careful and thorough studies.  Did they do the same with the CICC (Cebu International Convention Center)?” Davide said.

He assured that the province will not make unnecessary expenditures since the construction and operation of the project would be in collaboration with funding agencies or through Private Public Partnerships, with the P57 million as the province’s equity in the joint venture.

“I would like to assure the Cebuanos that the proposed building will NEVER be a white elephant. NEVER AGAIN,” he said.

As to the consultancy service for the DRR contingency plans, Davide said the same is even mandated under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act

He explained that the proposed consultancy will provide various capacity building activities that would better prepare LGUs during disasters.

The scope of the program will entail seven months of trainings, workshops, and consultations, the outputs of which can be used even at the barangay level. The budget is approximately P500,000 per municipality for seven months of work.

“The political season is upon us. Our opponents will try to twist every legitimate process to their advantage.  While they desperately do that, we will continue to do our work diligently and transparently,” Davide added.

Garcia will be challenging Davide in the 2016 elections.  (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC BUREAU OF AGRICULTURE CEBU GOVERNOR HILARIO DAVIDE CEBU INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER DAVIDE DISASTER RISK REDUCTION GARCIA NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT ACT PRIVATE PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS PROVINCIAL BOARD PROVINCIAL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
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