Are 3 BMC buildings 'white elephants'?

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs Usec. Marvel Clavecilla again showed his displeasure regarding three unused Bicol Medical Center (BMC) buildings here which remain empty despite having been inaugurated twice in the last two years.

In a meeting organized by the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce today, Clavecilla emphatically called the buildings a “white elephant” which cost the government a whopping P1.2-billion for its supposed “state of the art” and “world-class” facilities.

The three buildings include one with eight floors, another with five floors, and another with four floors.

They were intended to be cardiac and cancer centers, Clavecilla said.

“However, until now, they are empty and unused,” he lamented.


Asked whether they are already preparing complaints against the officers responsible for the undue delay, Clavecilla said: “We are still in the process of fact-finding and investigation. In fact, a technical working group has been organized to gather documentary evidence.”

“If we find probable cause, we will elevate the issue to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and even to the President,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Manuelito Luna of the PACC who was also an invited resource person, disclosed that on July 25, he had already requested the second-in-command of the Department of Health (DOH) to furnish the PACC with a timeline of the project completion.

The regional offices of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and other stakeholders are also monitoring the project, Luna said.

“We are not here to find faults, but to call the attention of the agencies involved to prevent undue injury to the government and the constituents, in compliance with the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the commissioner said.

Other delayed projects in Bicol
The PACC is also looking into other delayed government projects in the region, including the Naga Airport, the Calabanga Municipal Fishport, Calabanga Ice Plant Project, Bicol International Airport, and the Bonga-San Roque circumeferential road in Albay, among others, according to the PACC.

They also reported that the Quezon-Bicol Expressway (QBEX), which spans 417 kilometers from Lucena to Matnog, and is worth P700-billion, is now being fast-tracked.

“If you are aware of any anomalies, please feel free to report the matter to us even in confidence only,” Luna said.

“Let us join hands to work against corruption in government,” Clavecilla added.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission was created on October 4, 2017 through Executive Order No. 43 to directly assist the President in investigation and/or hearing administrative cases primarily involving graft and corruption against all presidential appointees in fulfillment of the President’s mandate to stop corruption.

The Commission is directly under the Office of the President.

The PACC officers are Chairman Dante La. Jimenez, Commissioner Gregorio Luis Contacto III, Commissiner Grego Belgica, Commissioner Rickson Chiong, Commissioner Manuelito Luna, and Executive Director Eduardo Bringas.

Bicol Standard tried to get the side of the Bicol Medical Center, but was informed that the hospital will just communicate with the paper once the responsible official is available.