Cebu News

For Palarong Pambansa hosting: Garcia halts all purchases

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia has ordered the “immediate suspension” of the procurement orders for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 in order to assess its budget appropriations.

Garcia announced his move yesterday, May 20, 2024, in a press conference right after he inspected the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) track oval following reports of delay in its construction.

Garcia said that due to the comments from the “well-meaning” individuals, including some of the Cebu City Councilors, he sees it fit to order the “immediate suspension” of the procurement activities for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 set on July 11 to 15.

The suspension will last for three days, which for Garcia is enough to run through the procurement list.

He, however, clarified that his order does not mean that the ongoing preparations for the hosting shall also be halted.

According to Garcia, the suspension will give him time as acting mayor to review all the procurements relating to the nearing national sports event.

“Tan-awon nako ang gipang-prioritize nila, ilahang budget, kay daghan kaayo og information coming from other offices nga basin naay items nga dili priority ug dili kinahanglanon. Mao ng I am ordering for its immediate suspension,” said Garcia.

Among those that Garcia will be looking at is the realigning of the budget appropriations to check where the city can spend less.

On the other hand, Garcia said those already procured shall continue, adding that the suspension only applies to the items that were not purchased yet pending his review.

“Tulo rani ka adlaw nako mahuman,” he said.

Before the presence of the media yesterday, Garcia signed the memorandum addressed to the Bids and Awards Committee-Goods and Services and to the Bids and Awards Committee-Infrastructure and Consulting Services.

The said memorandum cited that the said deferral of BAC activities is to “promote good governance and adhere to the principles of transparency, and accountability.”

The memo also orders BAC to defer pending activities related to the Palarong Pambansa 2024, such as but not limited to the conduct of bidding, issuance of a Notice of Award, Notice to Proceed, Purchase Order, Contracts, and any activity short of an award.

Further, the BAC is also hereby directed to cause the issuance of the necessary "Advisory", "Notices," and "Postponements," to the bidders, contractors, consultants, and its publication in the PhilGeps website and the Cebu City Government website, pursuant to the provisions of Section 29, of 2016 Revised IRR of RA 9184.

When asked if he had found a “bloating on the budget”, Garcia answered that budget allocations may have not been fully utilized.

He further cited an example, such as the appropriation for portalet rental, which cost around P21.09 million.

“So I want to know the wisdom nganong mu rent ta nga pwede raman nato na paliton kay in the future we will have more events to come nya ato na, so I want to know the wisdom for that, for example,” said Garcia.

According to him, he has only been acting mayor for a week and it is only fitting that such concerns shall be properly looked into. He added he did not know of this list prior to his appointment as acting mayor.

Meanwhile, according to Garcia, despite the alleged delays in the rehabilitation of the rubberized track oval, he assures that its completion will still meet the date of the Palarong Pambansa hosting, which is approximately 50 days as of this writing.

“Ang pinaka importante which is the oval, hopefully masugdan na na within today or tomorrow, that will take hopefully less than 30 days to finish and then plus 7 days curing,” said Garcia.

“Ako, I am still very optimistic na mahuman ra gyud ni ug kinahanglan gyud mahuman,” he added.

With this, Garcia said he is set to call and meet with the contractor, SBD Builders.

The Cebu City Council has previously directed SBD Builders, the contractor behind the rubberized track oval of CCSC to explain why it should not be blacklisted from taking on city projects, following the delays in the completion of projects it was awarded with.

City Councilor Noel Wenceslao, in a privilege speech during their City Council session last Wednesday, May 15, 2024, stressed on the urgency of finishing another SBD builders project, which is the city-funded reinforcement work on a bridge in Sitio Candarong, Barangay Pulangbato.

Last February 29, 2024, the executive department of the Cebu City Government requested an additional P205 million budget for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2024.

Committee on Sports Chairman of the Cebu City Council, Councilor Donaldo Hontiveros said that the said budget will elevate the facilities during the hosting of the anticipated sports event.

According to Hontiveros, this budget includes at least P23 million for the installation of LED outdoor field lights.

Hontiveros said that its installation will mirror other sports facilities that will light up the venues even at night.

It also includes the construction and installation of the digital and visual LED display, which would cost more than P135 million.

The budget proposal also includes the construction of an extension of the CCSC with an allocation of P47 million.

Hontiveros emphasized that the said development plans are not included in the P200 million approved budget.

According to him, what is included in the P200 million budget allocation is to ensure the safety of the participants which will also seal a partnership with private hospitals.

The P200 million approved budget also includes the provision of internet availability in the whole venue. It also covers a P4.5 million subsidy for the regional athletic delegation, P7.2 million for the conduct of the learning convention for the athletes and student leaders.

Further, it also includes more than P11 million in financial assistance for officials, P5 million for food and accommodations for the members of the committee from the central office, and at least P2 million financial subsidy for the schools division of Cebu City to cover meetings and conferences leading to the Palaro.

Also included are P20 million for rental and repair maintenance, P15 million to cover the opening and closer ceremony, P22 million for shower rooms and portalets, which they were hopeful would be utilized during the CVIRAA, and P18 million food for all the personnel, token and souvenirs, and other supplies. — (FREEMAN)

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