Putting safety on the line — the Iloilo Convention Center


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Can a famous architectural firm be engaged to do the design of a huge government infrastructure project without undergoing the procurement process prescribed by Republic Act No. 9184 and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations?

Apparently not.

That’s the reason the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) published an invitation for expressions of interest for the architectural and engineering designs of the Iloilo Convention Center last May 2013.

TIEZA had every right to initiate the procurement process. It was providing the funds for the project. It was the procuring entity.

However, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon had already engaged a well-known architectural firm to do the job. As early as November last year, Drilon had already announced that the firm of W. V. Coscolluela and Associates prepared the designs.

The TIEZA posted the invitation to submit expressions of interest on its website. However, somebody must have informed Drilon and called TIEZA he’s got somebody to do the job.

Today (Sept. 30), I called up the BAC of TIEZA and I was told the contract, which had an approved budget for the contract, was cancelled. The BAC secretariat didn’t know the reason for the cancellation.

And so now the DPWH is in the final stage of a negotiated procurement to work out a deal with one of the short-listed suppliers. It’s being made on the architectural and engineering designs of a company that didn’t undergo the bidding process.

To add to the mystery, the DPWH Region VI just only recently conducted a public bidding for geo-technical investigations and soil boring to determine the stability of the area where the Iloilo Convention Center will be put up.

When I revealed this over the weekend, I received information from architects and engineers that this is anomalous. It only goes to show that the structural design analysis for the plans and specifications was done without a geo-technical investigation being done first. The safety of the engineering design, especially that the superstructure will handle a heavy load of people, could not be guaranteed under the circumstances.

Will DPWH sacrifice safety just to meet the deadline for the APEC Ministers Summit in October 2015?

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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