Bohol moved a step a closer to the modernization of its 10 district hospitals—some of which have been deemed old and ill-equipped—after the Provincial Board’s (PB) historic approval of two ordinances allowing the provincial government to enter into loan agreements worth P678 million which lawmakers described as the largest borrowings in the province’s history.
The PB in its regular session on Tuesday unanimously approved on third and final reading two ordinances that allowed the province to secure the P678-million loans needed to modernize hospitals and procure brand new imported heavy equipment.
According to Board Member Restituto Auxtero, vice chairman of the PB’s committee on budget, finance and appropriations, the ordinances allowed the provincial government to enter into loan agreements with the DBP for the P483 million and with the Department of Finance-Municipal Development Fund Office (DOF-MDFO) for the P195.1 million.
Restituto expressed confidence in the province’s capability to pay the loans considering the favorable terms in the proposed agreements.
Under the ordinances, the provincial government will pay the P483-million loan with DBP within 10 years with two years grace period and the P195.1 million with the MDFO within 15 years with three years grace period.
“Kanang P195 [million] 15 years with three years grace period, interest ra atong bayran for three years, principal interest na dayon sa 12 years. Kadtong sa P483 million sa DBP, payable in 10 years with two years grace period,” Restituto said.
Both debts have interest rates of three percent per annum fixed for the entire terms of the loans.
“Gamay kaayo, porbidang gamaya [interest]. If we want to progress, e-invest ng kwartaha,” he added.
Auxtero who is leading the PB’s budget, finance and appropriations committee in the absence of its chair, Vice Governor Rene Relampagos, expects the Monetary Board Opinion from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to be issued in the next months.
The loans will be needing “favorable” Monetary Board Opinion from the BSP, based on guidelines indicated by the DOF for LGU loan application.
“An LGU must secure the Certificate of Net Debt Service Ceiling (NDSC) and Borrowing Capacity (BC) from BLGF (Bureau of Local Government Finance)a favourable Monetary Board Opinion from the BSP,” the DOF states.
Governor Art Yap early in his first term as chief executive in 2019 had highlighted that his administration will prioritize the improvement of the province’s district hospitals particularly through the purchase of medical equipment.
Yap admitted the lagging state of the province’s district hospitals, saying that he wanted to do away with the current usual scenario wherein patients are almost automatically referred to the state-run Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City.
Bohol has 10 district hospitals scattered all over the island but the GCGMH, which has previously drawn flak for being overcrowded, remains to be the only main public healthcare facility in the province. (R. Tutas)