Editorial: Mandaue City and the CICC

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Monday, March 31, 2014

THE administration of Gov. Hilario Davide Jr. has officially raised the red flag as far as the Cebu International Convention Center (C
ICC) is concerned. Davide has said that during the meeting of the CICC management board last week, he told Mandaue City representatives to formalize the City Government’s intention to buy the structure.

The CICC was damaged by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu late last year and needs an estimated P160 million for repairs and upgrading. The CICC has been eyed as one of the venues for big events: the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting and the International Eucharistic Congress to be hosted by the Cebu archdiocese.

The CICC was built under the administration of Gwendolyn Garcia (now third district congresswoman), who is facing charges with the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged anomalies attending its construction. The Davide administration has also labeled the CICC as a virtual white elephant, supposedly operating with a loss before it was damaged.


It is not surprising, therefore, that its handling of the facility has been lackluster. It has refused to fund the repairs and upgrading, claiming lack of funds, and has not been creative in finding other sources of money, like the private sector and the national government.

So his decision to sell the facility to Mandaue City is symbolic of his administration’s overall lack of effort to salvage CICC’s use. This, in a way, may also be good because officials of the city, which owns the lot upon which the facility stands, can perhaps find ways to either put it to a better use or to repair it and operate it.

While the construction of the CICC has been flogged by critics of the Garcia administration, the fact remains that the province has no facility like it, which is why even the national government has considered it a venue of an important international gathering. It can still be put to good use under a creative management.

The Mandaue reclamation area where it stands, for example, is growing as a business hub, and the city can put to good use CICC’s empty spaces and the unused portions of the structure with this growth in mind.

The problem is the CICC purchase price and whether the city can afford it. But if push comes to shove, why won’t Davide let Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes take the lead in managing the CICC? Maybe he has the heart for it, the city being the owner of the lot, and can better introduce fresh ideas on the matter of repairing the facility and operating it.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 01, 2014.


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