The City Government awaits for an official explanation from the Manila-based Square Meter Trading and Construction Corporation (SMTCC) for its failure to finish on time the new City public market at the bay area.

The city government is demanding the contractor of the new P190-million public market project to explain its construction schedule delay.

City administrator and legal counsel Atty. Arnel Pedrosa said contractor Square Meter Trading and Construction Corporation (SMTCC), should explain why since January this year, all it has accomplished in the 2.8-hectare bay area site are structural supports and some minor project details.

The consequence of the delay, Pedrosa said in a Saturday interview with Palawan News, is not meeting the expected December 2019 or January 2020 completion which is merely three or four months away.

He said they expect representatives of the construction company to formally communicate and explain to them the cause of the delay.

Pedrosa added that earlier, SMTCC asked the city government to give them until the first quarter of 2020 to complete the project, but Mayor Lucilo Bayron did not agree.

“Noong nalaman ni Mayor Bayron na nanghihingi sila ng extension of time [or] additional period to accomplish ‘yong project, hindi pumayag si mayor. Binigyan ng instruction ‘yong City Engineering Office (CEO) na mag-object or i-deny ‘yong request,” said Pedrosa.

The 3,700-square meter new public market’s construction started after the city government broke ground at the bay walk on January 9, 2019.

Pedrosa also said that when he spoke to CEO chief Engr. Alberto Jimenez to ask for updates, he was told that although developments are slow in the project site, SMTCC workers are re-fabricating materials outside the area.

“I heard also when I requested the presence of Engineer Jimenez, ‘yong ating City Engineer, kung ano ba ‘yong update doon sa project na ‘yan. He told me na although hindi talaga masyadong nakikita ‘yong accomplishment doon sa workplace, doon sa market, but sabi niya nagma-manufacture naman itong Square Meter outside the workplace ‘nong mga re-fabricated materials na siyang gagamitin diyan sa public market na ‘yan. Once na maitayo talaga ‘yong poste, ‘yong foundation, salpak-salpak na lang,” said Pedorsa.

However, he said they need to hear this also from the contractor.

Earlier, the SMTCC said one of the reasons for the delay in the construction of the new public market was the shortage of aggregates and the difficulty of road passage in the area.

“Iyong una ay shortage ng aggregates kasi ang nangyari diyan noong wala na tayong makuhang aggregates sa Iwahig nahirapan ata din sila mag source-out. Pangalawa ang sabi ay nahihihirapan silang magpapasok ng kanilang heavy equipment dahil ‘yong kalasada doon sa lugar ay maliit. Tapos sabi nila ay isang column lang daw ‘yong naa-accomplish para hindi sila bumalik kasi nga hindi raw makapasok ‘yong kanilang equipment. Iyon din ‘yong isang ginawa pa nilang dahilan,” said Pedrosa.

Pedrosa said the aggregates could somehow be considered a valid reason, but the problem on the road-entry for the equipment should have been perceived by the contractor prior to the passage of the contingency plan.

He said the city government will act based on the explanation of the SMTCC.