War on truth over $40-M The Medical City at Clark

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    Local mediamen find no workers in the dark, unfinished lobby of the hospital. PHOTOS BY BONG LACSON

    CLARK FREEPORT
    – A word war over the construction of The Medical City-Clark (TMCC) here has left local folk confused. After the American president of Peregrine Development International, Inc. (Peregrine) toured local media through the still unfinished, $40-million TMCC building to prove that work on it has remained frozen, officials of the Kuwaiti firm Global Gateway Development Corp. (GGDC) insisted they had 550 workers finishing the building in time for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this January.

    TMCC will be inaugurated on Dec. 8, declared GGDC. But Peregrine executives said this could happen only if they, through their contractor, would again be given the funds to push through with the completion. GGDC is the financier of the 177-hectare Global Gateway Logistics City (Logistics City), including TMCC in the area, while Peregrine is supposed to be its sole contractor, manager and operator for the entire project.

    Last June, however, GGDC suddenly fired Peregrine which brought the matter before the local court. Peregrine has refused to leave Logistics City and barred GGDC from taking in any new contractor which could finish the Medical City. GGDC President- CEO Mark Williams, however, insisted last Friday that work on the hospital has not stopped, with 550 workers hired to finish the building.

    He informed the House committee on transportation which met here on the same day that TMCC would be formally opened on Dec. 8. The previous day, however, Peregrine President Dennis Wright and his vice president Jeff Pradhan toured the journalists through the hospital to show work had remained frozen since GGDC barred Peregrine from access to its $1.6 million “working capital account”.

    The hospital was also guarded by men whom Peregrine had contracted to secure the entire Logisltics City. Wright said Peregrine still had the duty to operate and manage the Logistics City as specified in its contract with GGDC.

    He said that deprived of funds by the GGDC, his firm has already incurred arrears worth $5 million from its contractors. Pradhan said the $1 million in the working capital account withdrawn by GGDC was supposed to be for the completion of TMCC.

    A visit to the Medical City yesterday revealed that only security personnel identified with Peregrine were the only ones present at the hospital which was reportedly already 90 percent finished when work on it was stopped last June.

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