Editorial: CICC no longer maligned-A A +A
Saturday, January 11, 2014
ONE can say that the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) is the most maligned structure in the province.
After it was built in time for the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in 2007, critics of the administration of then governor Gwendolyn Garcia painted the project two ways: that its construction was tainted with anomalies and that it would end up as a white elephant.
True enough, graft cases were filed against Garcia and other Capitol officials with the Office of the Ombudsman. The anti-graft office has still to resolve the said cases. In the meantime, the CICC continued to host various events, although the profitability of the facility was subjected to scrutiny by Garcia’s critics.
With the assumption of Hilario Davide III as governor, the CICC was among Garcia’s projects that his administration refused to touch with a ten-foot pole. It reached a point where Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes floated the idea of converting the CICC into its City Hall.
When the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck areas in Bohol and Cebu, the CICC was among the structures that sustained heavy damage. Garcia’s critics attempted to use the damage as proof that the structure was substandard--a result of the anomalies that hounded its construction.
But that didn’t fly because other government-built edifices like the Palace of Justice were also damaged by the tremor.
It turned out later that the much maligned edifice is useful after all. With the Philippines set to host the meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) next year, the National Government is considering the CICC as a most likely venue.
Davide and Cortes (the facility stands on a lot owned by Mandaue City) are now busy talking about how to go about repairing the CICC. Their burden may be lightened, though, because the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had already said that it can help in repairing the damaged structure.
What this shows is that it pays for elected government officials and their supporters to take off the political lenses they use to assess projects and programs of their predecessors. Public interest will be better served if they are objective in their assessment.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2014.