Group offers to backfill hole, gets Gwen’s nod
CEBU, Philippines — A Visayas-based cooperative of hauler operators has offered to provide free manpower and materials to backfill the hole earlier excavated to supposedly build the controversial 20-storey Capitol Resource Center.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia was quick to welcome the proposal of the Visayas Truckers Equipment and Quarry Operators Services Cooperative (VTEQOSC) during an interview with reporters Friday.
She has agreed to the offer, albeit still in principle as she has yet to formally talk with the group.
“Duna pa gyuy mga good Cebuanos nga civic-minded nga andam nga makig-abag sa probinsya aron mahibalik ang Sugbo pagkanumero uno (It only shows that there are still civic-minded Cebuanos ready to help the province to make it number one again),” Garcia said.
“We cannot be waiting forever for him, and if he thinks he will hold us hostage to that, he better think again,” she added, without dropping names.
Garcia said she was happy that the group made the offer even if she did not ask for it nor advertise the need.
“Wa man na nako gi-open kung kinsay mo-offer. I have not expected nga naay mo-offer, pero out of the blue, niari sila,” she said.
The governor also said the Capitol may have to provide equipment for the backfilling operation as the cooperative’s offer does not include it.
She added that the costs entailed in securing the equipment will be charged against WT Construction Inc., contractor of the project.
In a letter dated August 1, VTEQOSC chairman Maurino Roma asked permission from Garcia “to dump our excavated soil in your trench area located near the Provincial Capitol.”
Roma said the excavated soil comes from the coop’s different projects in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.
In its Facebook page, VTEQOSC says it is engaged in trucking services, heavy equipment rental, supplying aggregates like sand and gravel, limestone, diorite, and common burrow. It is made up of 40 active members.
Greenlighted under the term of former governor now Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, the Capitol Resource Center became controversial after it was opposed by heritage advocates for its supposed violations.
Because it is proposed to rise beside the Cebu Provincial Capitol building, which was declared a national historical landmark in 2008, Garcia said the resource center project violates the Heritage Act.
Upon her return to the Capitol after winning in the May 13 elections, among Garcia’s marching orders was stopping the project.
WT Construction yielded to the order, but the new administration thumbed down its request to have its equipment pulled out from the site.
Before she formally assumed office, Garcia had warned WT from undertaking construction activities related to the project. Her administration has also moved to have the firm blacklisted from pursuing Capitol projects.
Yesterday, Garcia said she has informed Davide of her move to blacklist WT and “the reason for that,” which she did not elaborate.
She added that Davide responded by asking a formal communication so “he can take actions.”
Davide earlier defended the contractor saying it was only honoring the contract it forged with the Capitol.
The project is estimated to cost P1.3 billion. — Jed Harvey M. Ondiano (FREEMAN)