CEBU, Philippines — On the first day of her return to the Capitol, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia stopped work on the controversial P1.3 billion Capitol Resource Center project.
“It is hereby ordered and enjoined, WT Construction Inc., and any and all persons acting on its behalf, to stop and permanently discontinue any and all activities relative to the construction of the Cebu Resource Center Project,” reads the executive order dated June 30, 2019.
Garcia said the center, meant to be the flagship project of her predecessor, now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, is allegedly anomalous.
For one, she said, it violates the National Cultural Act of 2009.
She said earlier the center deforms the look of the Capitol Building, which is a National Historical Landmark, as the resource center is being built right beside the Capitol building.
She pointed out that Davide had no authority to sign the Deed of Assignment with Hold-Out, a vital document or contract entered into by the province and DBP. Davide also allegedly entered into a contract with WT Construction without authority from the Provincial Board.
She directed the Provincial Legal Office to review the supplemental budget, which included P1.5 billion for the building’s construction.
On May 7, 2018, the Provincial Board passed and approved Resolution No. 1128-2018, which authorized Davide to enter into and sign an Omnibus Loan Term Agreement with DBP for a P1,525,000,000 loan to finance the project’s construction.
Even while she was congresswoman, Garcia already opposed the project, filing an injunction case in court to stop its construction.
She also filed a separate case before the Ombudsman against Davide; Vice Governor Agnes Magpale; Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino; WT Construction Vice President Willy U. Te; and Marissa Anino, head of DBP’s Cebu Lending Center.
Aside from the executive order, Garcia also issued three memoranda to different offices and Capitol personnel.
A memo issued to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, provincial treasurer’s office, and Cebu Provincial Police Office directed the stoppage of quarrying activities in the province.
Garcia stopped the quarry operations “To put a stop to the unabated illegal quarrying activities in the province and to prevent the further degradation of the environment which causes calamities that result in massive destruction of properties and loss of human lives, and in view of my administration’s decision to review all Sand and Gravel (SAG) permits issued by the province.”
She also suspended the processing of all applications for SAG permits as the province reviews the permits already issued.
In a separate memorandum to the provincial engineer, Garcia ordered the suspension “of any and all work relative to projects that are undertaken by your department, as well as to serve notice to all concerned contractors of said suspension.”
She directed the provincial engineer to submit within 48 hours a detailed report of the office’s programs and activities, including projects accomplished, continuing, and for implementation.
In a third memo, Garcia directed the Provincial General Services Office “to immediately recall all province-owned vehicles and equipment currently assigned through to different local government units and offices.”
“I am requiring you to submit an inventory report indicating the specific vehicle, equipment, and present location not later than July 5, 2019,” the memo reads.
During the flag ceremony yesterday, Garcia said she would need to help of everyone in the provincial government for sincere governance.
“Magkinahanglan ko’g support ni Vice Governor Hilario Davide, Provincial Board Members, department heads, ug labi na kamo mga empleyado (I would need the support of Vice Governor Hilario Davide, Provincial Board Members, department heads, and of all of you, the personnel),” she said.
“They expect and I expect nothing less working in this great province of ours in our provincial government. Trabaho ta,” she added.
She called for unity among all workers in the Capitol.
“Let us join our hands to work for our beloved Cebuanos. It is the only way to achieve progress and development in this beloved province of ours,” she said.
Davide said earlier he will support Garcia’s administration.
“Let us support her agenda because usa raman pud iyang tinguha – ang kalambuan sa Sugbo ug sa atong mga lumulupyo dinhi (Let us support her agenda because she only has one objective – progress for the province and all residents here),” Davide said. — With Bonen A. Clarin (FREEMAN)