ILOILO CITY: The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday said the construction of the Iloilo Convention Center here is within standards and not overpriced.
DPWH Regional Director Edilberto Tayao was reacting to the resolution filed by Kabataan partylist representative Terry Ridon calling for a probe on the P700 million building.
Ridon filed House Resolution No. 1466 urging the House committee on public works and highways to investigate in aid of legislation on possible cases of corruption and overpricing of at least 20 government infrastructure projects including the Iloilo Convention Center built by Hilmarc Construction Corp. over the decade.
Tayao justified the construction of the state-of- the-art convention center which will boost the city’s hosting of two ministerial meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in September and October next year.
The Small and Medium Enterprises meeting will be held on September 21 to 25 while the Food Security and the Blue Economy meeting is slated October 4-6.
Tayao said the center covers an area of 1.7 hectare donated by Megaworld Corp. within its 54 hectare old Iloilo airport property. The total floor area is 11,349 square meters and not 6,400 square meters as reported by Ridon.
The groundfloor is 6,080 square meters, 3,381 square meters second floor, 668 square meters mezzanine and 1,563 square meters roof deck. Total capacity is 3,700 guests with the main convention hall at the groundfloor for more than 3,000 guests.
The second floor will have seven function rooms for 560 guests at 80 persons per room, VIP room, museum and souvenir shop.
Tayao said the P500 million appropriation for Phase I came from the DPWH’s 2012 budget (P100 million), 2013 budget (P200 million) and DOT-TIEZA (P200 million).
Another P200 million from the agency’s 2014 budget for Phase II will go to the building finishes, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and fire protection features.
Other related items of work not covered by the funding allocation shall be included under the Operation and Management by Megaworld Corp.
Tayao deplored the report of Ridon by saying that the solon may have been using erroneous data in making false allegations against the Iloilo convention center. He pointed out that the contractor of the new cityhall is not Hilmarc but it is F.F. Cruz Frayzinet.