Cebu News

P3-billion Mandaue government center set to break ground

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman
P3-billion Mandaue government center set to break ground
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes announces the groundbreaking of a proposed P3-billion government center at the property currently occupied by the Cebu International Convention Center.
Joy Torrejos

CEBU, Philippines — A P3-billion government center in Mandaue City is set to break ground during the city’s Charter Day anniversary two months from now.

Mayor Jonas Cortes announced the impending construction of the new Mandaue City government center during the launching of “Istorya ta Bai: A Move for Good Governance and Transparency Forum” yesterday.

Cortes said it is high time to have a new government center to house all city government offices for easier access and better services for the Mandauehanons. The mayor explained that the current City Hall was last expanded during the time of his father, former mayor Demetrio “Boy” Cortes, sometime in 1975.

“Karon dili na gyud intawon paigo. We need to have a government center nga one-stop shop nga naa na nganha ang tanan. If you want to transact with Mandaue kay same area, same building. So that’s long overdue nakita na gyud nato nga nagkinahanglan na gyud, it’s about time,” said Cortes.

The proposed government center will be built on a 4-hectare property where the historical Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) is located.

Architect Marlo Ocleasa, head of the City Planning and Development Office, said the iconic CICC structure will be repaired. The building will house the executive and legislative offices. The plan includes construction of a public park and playground, parking building, commercial spaces, and a convention center.

“The main building (CICC) will be repaired and renovated. Dili i-demolish ang structural component of the building but we will improve and make use of the main building where public transactions are engaged,” Ocleasa said.

Cortes said the design would be a modern “Bantayan sa Mandaue” which will feature a 360-degree view from the top to attract tourists. The construction is expected to be completed in 35 months.

Atty. Regal Oliva, City Treasurer, said the city government will take out a P3-billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines to fund the phase one of the project. Oliva said the loan will be payable in 15 years which payment will be sourced from local revenues and income from rentable commercial spaces.

The second phase of the project—public transport terminal—will be done through a public-private partnership.

According to Cortes, the current City Hall building will be used as a city library and museum.  The entire Mandaue Presidencia will be made into a heritage plaza.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia built the CICC in 2006 as one of the main venues of the 12th Asean Summit in 2007. The provincial government spent for the construction under a co-management agreement with the Mandaue City government who owns the lot.

The controversial structure, however, was badly damaged by the Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Central Visayas in October 2013 and the Super typhoon Yolanda in the same year. The historic building has since been used as relocation site for fire victims.

The provincial government under the administration of then governor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, sold the property to the city government of Mandaue. When Garcia returned to Capitol she tried to reacquire the CICC but the Mandaue City government refused.

Meanwhile, Cortes has denied reports that the city government spent P44 million in the construction of a clock tower at the Heritage Plaza.

“Mura og tsismis ra gyud. No budget, no payment either. The clock tower is just a prototype man na. Wala pa tay gasto ana. Sa pagkakaron wala tay gasto,” explained Giovanni Tianero, chairperson of the Bids and Awards Committee.

Cortes said he is wondering where the amount came from.

“Ako mo deny gyud ko ana. Wala ko kabalo og asa na nila gikan nga nigasto ang city og P44 million. I cannot imagine anang P44 million,” said Cortes. — (FREEMAN)

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