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Ormoc plaza architect scores City for betrayal, disrespect

ORMOC CITY – Architect Wenceslao Arcuino Jr., a Bayaning Pilipino finalist and whose design for the renovation and rehabilitation of the Ormoc City Plaza is now being implemented for P 8.9-milion, has made public his sentiments about the Ormoc City Plaza Rehabilitation Group for ignoring a Memorandum of Agreement that gives his firm, WCA Architects, a full hand in supervising the ongoing park rehab. 

In a Facebook status posted on Saturday around midnight, Arcuino Jr. made it clear that he gave his design to the city for free and that “we are not asking any compensation from Ormoc LGU or from anybody else kay tungod nga ormocanon ang maka benifit ani.”

However, he feels betrayed because an agreement that their firm fully supervises the execution of the plans was ignored and as of present, they don’t even know what is happening to the project anymore.

Furthermore, he said city officials impinged on his intellectual property rights by displaying his design on a tarp with the WCA logo replaced with that of the City’s.

On Facebook

In his Facebook post at his personal account, Arcuino said (minor editing applied on misspelled words and for cohesion): ATTENTION: Ormoc City Plaza Rehabilitation Group (you know who you are). After our firm’s thorough deliberations, WCA architects had lost interest in this project.

Aside nga we are busy for the preparation sa amu upcoming projects, there is no more reason na mo continue pa mi coz we are really very upset nga wala masunud ang MOA, then feel namu nga we are being bypassed and betrayed.

To tell you frankly wala gyud mi gi apas ani nga project, ang amua is fully community service. FYI we are not asking any compensation from Ormoc LGU or from anybody else, kay tungod nga ormocanon ang maka benifit ani. The reason behind nga we are no longer interested sa project ‘coz naay mga butang nga sa amua side nga mura ug napakyas.

The ff are our grievances: 1. RA 9266 is not being followed. You put tarpaulin sa site, but gi alisdan ug gitabunan ninyo amu logo with the Ormoc City logo, then wala ninyo gi recognize and put our firm’s name.

2. We are not being invited sa pre and during construction phase meetings.

3. We have not worked in close collaboration during planning phase. In that case wala me idea unsa status.

4. We were not invited during the bidding process to explain the scope of work, that is the major reason that the contractor until now have no idea pertaining the execution of the project .

5. The project started without our full knowledge.

6. The agreement that my firm will fully manage the project has not been strictly observed. We thought that we are the one to decide and to approve materials to be used, but in reality, it is the other way around which defeats the purpose. How can the project continue smoothly if there are too many people interfering with our concept? Nahug nga murag wa namiy gamit.

7. The stage from the original proposal (to repair it only was) changed to full renovation, without our full knowledge.

By these nonconforming performances of your side, we hereby refused to extend further assistance pertaining to this project. We no longer accept and answer responsibilities, kung unsa man outcome sa ani na project. We extend our apologies sa amu decision coz sa amu side, it is already grave misconduct sa inyo side.

Arcuino added that they have decided to post the said status update on Facebook so “everyone will know).

Reactions

The post spread like wildfire by this Sunday, May 26, with 62 shares on his original post and an uncounted number of re-shares. A lot lauded Arcuino for revealing the truth about the P 8.9-million landscaping project.

There were some reactions, however, that admitted getting confused of what it was all about. There were others who said that if Arcuino donated his designs out of community service, that he should not mind if the name of his firm is not recognized, though admittedly it was unfair.

Ahnnaleel Guillemer Maglasang said: “Mao ni ang sitwasyon..ang WCA ARCHITECTS ang nag-design ana..VOLUNTARILY..pero naay kakulian na nahitabo..palihug nalang q basa sa taas f la paka kabasa..so ang final is mapadayon gihapon na nga project pero di na ang WCA ARCHITECTS ang mupaluyo..Pero ang point here is it’s so UNFAIR..imuha hinagoan laen ang mutrabaho..”

She continues to say: “I understand your side, sir. Pero nakakita man tingale ta usahay naay dagkong projects, ang donor kay ‘anonymous’. Let’s not cry foul nalang kay gitaptapan ug tarp ang inyo company logo. If they want credit for the effort you’ve done – give it to them. That for me is more than community service and to further extend the functionality sa inyu cause aheheh kamu nalang pud untay nagbantay arun dili mabutangan ug tarp sa lain. Anyway,kudos for the initiative!”

To which Engr. Phillip Arcuino, the architect’s brother who is an electrical engineer, answered that “sakto ka Ahnnaleel Guillemer Maglasang … gi by pass man amu firm sa process ani ilang project ug ang gipost nga perspective drawing sa plaza gitatang ang logo…gi-ilisan ug lain nga pangan… murag kawat style ba…”

A Cristobal Salinas Gonzaga also expressed the same sentiment as that of Guillemer. Architect Arcuino answered him, saying that “FYI bisan pana ug community service, it doesn’t mean nga dili na subject by the law of the land. Kana tanan subject na sa RA 9266 or Architect’s law and the Intellectual Property Rights Law.”

Arcuino quoted Section 33 of the Architecture Law that states: “Drawings and specifications and other contract documents duly signed, stamped or sealed as instruments of service are the intellectual property and documents of the Architect, whether the object for which they are made is executed or not. It shall be unlawful for any person to duplicate or to make copies of said documents for use in the repetition of and for other project or buildings, whether executed partly or in whole, without the written consent of architect or author of said documents. All architects shall incorporate this provision in all contract documents and other instruments of service.”

He added that all they were asking was for “respect” from the part of the implementing agency.

A history of community service

Arcuino also stressed that the city plaza design is not the first of his designs that he donated for community service. “For the information of everybody, kaning city plaza rehabilitation project is not our first time (to do) community service. This only dust compared sa amu na acomplish na. I and my staff have dedicated our entire life sa community service. Kay kung dili namu sugdan ug una, kinsa paman? Ug kanus-a paman kita mulehok?”

Arcuino, who is Mayor Eric Codilla’s godson in marriage, mouthed the mayor’s recent favorite line: “Way lain mutabang nato, kung dili kita ra gihapon” but adds, “kinahanglan pa ba diay mahemung public oficial para lang mutabang sa katawhan?”

An expensive plaza for donated benches

The story of Arcuino’s donating his design and concept for the plaza is an interesting story on its own. About two years ago, the Ormoc City Supreme Lions of which he was president then, had a project to donate elegant park benches to the city in cooperation with the Energy Development Corporation.

Poised to already donate the finished benches, members raised the issue that the chairs looked out of place at the plaza which looked dirty and oftentimes used as a baratillo center.

To challenge city officials to improve the plaza so that their chairs would fit in, Arcuino submitted his designs. A year later, he was called and told they were seriously considering his design.

He reiterated that he was giving his designs to the city for free even if it was not his firm who would implement it. He only asked, however, that he is given a hand to supervise its implementation by the winning contractor, so that his concept is implemented as planned. He has not been consulted since, he said.

Architect Arcuino Jr. has a long history of community service. He was student government president during his college days at the Eastern Visayas State University – Ormoc Campus.

A fresh graduate, he donated to the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corporation a design for the then proposed Kananga-EDC Institute of Technology (KEITECH), which has since seen many graduates walk out its door. Arcuino’s donated design, which could have cost at least a million in professional fees for EDC, was welcomed by the company. It would also earn him the recognition as a Bayaning Pilipino finalist for his unselfish donation, for the benefit of KEITECH beneficiaries.

His firm also partnered for two years now with Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez in her “Light Up a Star” Christmas beautification program, in cooperation with the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation. Arcuino admitted he got flak from friends for helping the congresswoman, but reasoned that as long as it is for the good of Ormoc, he will work with anybody.

An architect’s professional fee ranges from 3% to 5% of the total project cost. In the case of the Ormoc plaza, had Arcuino not waived his fees, it should have cost the City or the contractor around P 267,000.00 to P 445,000.00.



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