Convention center not yet fully operational – dela Peña

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BAGUIO CITY – City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña announced the city-owned Baguio Convention Center will not yet be fully operational next month but it will simply be used by the city government as a venue for its 110th Charter Day Anniversary program on September 1, 2019.

The city administrator, together with Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong and Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius C. Mapalo, conducted an ocular inspection on the ongoing works in the facility and discovered that the programmed works are not yet fully completed, thus, the need to close the facility after it will be used by the local government several weeks from now.

He admitted based on their assessment, the Baguio Convention Center might be fully operational next year because much work has yet to be done in the basement aside from the  completion of the site development to ensure the completion of the multi-million rehabilitation project.

“We appeal for utmost understanding from those wanting to use the facility for their gatherings because it will not yet be ready by September considering the remaining enormous work that will have to be done to complete the rehabilitation project,” dela Peña stressed.

The rehabilitation of the city-owned convention facility was supposed to have been completed last February but because of the unnecessary delays in the implementation of the works, the projected completion date was moved up to the end of the year to allow all remaining works to be completed the soonest so that the same could be used in the conduct of huge gatherings and activities of the local government and the private sector.

Earlier, the public works department, through Undersecretary Maria Catalina Cabral, earmarked some P180 million from the annual budget of the agency last year purposely to initiate the implementation of rehabilitation and upgrading of the facility to increase its seating capacity aside from improving its aesthetics inside and outside the structure.

However, certain issues on how the project was implemented cropped up during the implementation stage that caused the suspension of work a number of times which ultimately delayed completion to end of the year.

The 41-year old convention facility was acquired by the city government from the State-owned Government Service Insurance System through a tripartite agreement among the GSIS, the city and the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority which provided for the initial downpayment for the realization of the purchase.

The facility was constructed by the then Ministry of Human Settlements under the leadership of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda R. Marcos to serve as the venue for the world chess championship match between erstwhile world chess champion Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi.

The local government purchased the land area where the structure was built and the 1-hectare parking area to accommodate vehicles during gatherings, among other activities.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis

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