The opening of bids for the construction of the P350 million Central Block buildingof the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital will be held on May 27, and construction is expected to start next month.

Provincial Treasurer Danilo Mendez, a member of the Bids and Awards Committee, said the province will no longer allow delays in the construction of the facility and the project will start immediately after the opening of bids, and the declaration of the winning contractor. This is to comply with the 6-monthgrace period of the Monetary Board, he said.

In the pre-bid conference of contractors and suppliers recently, three big construction firms based in Manila and Cebu signified their intention to participate in the bidding, and bought bid documents worth P60,000 each.

The provincial government assured that before August 20, 2014, it shall have gotten the first tranche of the loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines, and this will be released to the winning contractor.

Mendez said local contractors may not be able to qualify for the bidding as one requirement is experience in the construction of similar buildings.

He said the Department of Health has set the standards for the construction of health facilities and one is that such buildings can withstand calamities to ensure the safety of patients.

Gov. Roel Degamo said the realization of this project will be “a dream come true” for all Negrenses, as the NOPH, with a bed capacity of 280, is usually overcrowded.

He had said earlier that the construction of the Central Block building, started during the term of former Gov. Emilio Macias II, is a priority of his administration.

Majority of the previous members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, however, had bucked the proposal, and that resulted in further delays in securing a loan.

Degamo said he wants the project to be fast-tracked to address the deplorable condition of patients at the corridors of the NOPH.

The P350 million loan is payable in 15 years, with 156 equal monthly amortizations.

The building will cater only to patients from the province, but also to those from Siquijor, northern Mindanao, southern Cebu, and Negros Occidental, Degamo said.*JG