Drilon: Controversy delaying Iloilo building meant for APEC

Carmela Fonbuena

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Drilon: Controversy delaying Iloilo building meant for APEC
Bidding for the second phase of the Iloilo Convention Center failed, says Senate President Franklin Drilon

MANILA, Philippines – Contractors now have “apprehensions” about joining the bidding for the 2nd phase of the Iloilo Convention Center construction project, resulting in delays that put at risk plans to host meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit there, according to Senate President Franklin Drilon. 

Quoting Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region VI Director Edilberto Tayao, Drilon said the recent bidding for the second phase of the project failed. The project’s completion was pushed back to May or June 2015, which is too close to the APEC Summit that year. (READ: PH to host 2015 APEC Summit)

Drilon, the primary sponsor of the infrastructure project in his home province, said accusations made by former provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada are “directly responsible for the failure of bidding.” Several contractors who joined bidding for the first phase did not join the second phase anymore. 

“It is unfortunate that just because of lies, and of spiteful and baseless allegations hurled against the project and its proponents and implementers, Ilonggos could lose the opportunity of hosting the 2015 APEC meetings, along with all the tourism and economic developments prospects that this event brings,” he said in a statement Friday, November 21.

Bidding for Phase 2 of ICC covers the finishing touches on the ICC, including the toilets and electromechanical items such as air conditioning, escalators, and elevators.

Mejorada’s allegations are the subject of a Senate Blue Ribbon committee probe. Drilon said contractors are supposedly afraid that they will be dragged into the probe.

Mejorada admitted during the first day of Senate probe that he has “no evidence” to prove overpricing. Still, revelations during the probe got several senators to dig deeper. (READ: ‘No evidence’ of oveprice on first day of Senate probe and Iloilo building probe should continue – Osmeña)

During the Senate probe, Senator Sergio Osmeña III drew his attention to the motivation of Megaworld in donating a lot inside its complex for the ICC project. Megaworld also imposed an architectural design, which the Department of Tourism accepted.

The last time the country hosted the APEC summit was in 1996, under then President Fidel V. Ramos. It was held in Subic, where the participating world leaders were billeted in specially-constructed “APEC villas.” – Rappler.com

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