Yap can borrow up to P2 billion; minority bloc opposes

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Yap can borrow up to P2 billion; minority bloc opposes

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Governor Arthur Yap can now borrow P2 billion to spend for his water projects after the 28th Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Bohol gave its authorization during its regular session to avail of the Omnibus Term Loan Facility (OTLF)/Credit Line of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in the amount of P2 billion, the biggest loan so far in the history of Bohol.

Resolution No. 2021-271 was passed last Tuesday in the administration-dominated Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Only board members Lucille Lagunay and Dionisio Victor Balite voted against the approval of the huge credit line with the Land Bank of the Phils.

The two lawmakers told the Chronicle that tyranny of numbers at the provincial law-making body will always give the Yap administration an assurance of its backed up legislation to be smoothly approved.

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The P2 billion credit line was approved in the SP resolution by a 9-2 vote with nine yes and two no votes with eleven SP members present and no abstention. Two members were on official business.

The approved resolution states – Authorizing the Local Chief Executive of the Province of Bohol, to represent the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) to avail of the Omnibus Term Loan Facility (OTLF)/Credit Line of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) amounting to Two Billion Pesos (P2,000,000,000.00), thus allowing the Provincial Government of Bohol to have a Standby Credit Facility with LBP for drawdown to fund the proposed One Billion Pesos (P1,000,000,000.00) loan for its various water development projects.

The water spending measure was sponsored by Majority Floor Leader, 1st District Board Member (BM) Ricky Masamayor and co-sponsored by no less than Vice Governor and SP Presiding Officer Rene Relampagos.

STRONG OBJECTION

Explaining their no votes, Senior BM from the 3rd District Dionisio Victor Balite and BM Lucille Lagunay raised their concerns regarding the nature of the loan provisions and pushed for a deeper study on the conditions attached to the loan with the Local Government Unit (LGU).

Lagunay found it perplexing that “out of the many municipalities that have been considered for funding, only four municipalities have approval from their respective SangguniangBayans.” 

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Lagunay disclosed that the Duero has one site development in the amount of P60M, Valencia, one water source for P70M, and San Miguel, one source for P30M.

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Lagunay found it “incredible that all of a sudden, three sites are now being considered in Pilar and have been approved by the SB.”

The Chronicle later learned that the Pilar SB approved for funding two water sources in the amount of P60M each and a bulk water supply scheme worth P130M. 

However, Relampagos cut short Lagunay’s manifestation that her objections were still premature and should express her reasons behind her negative vote after the assailed resolution will be put into a vote.

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WARY

The Chronicle reported on January 10, 2021 that Pilar Mayor NecitasCubrado was mulling to avail of a P60M loan but a bigger amount of P250 million was approved by the SP.

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The SP of Buenavista reportedly unanimously rejected the offer of a water loan in the amount of P66 million while Ubay, Bien Unido, and Talibon purportedly declined the water loan offer.

Several towns included in the priority list of beneficiaries of the P1 billion loan – Trinidad, Mabini, Alicia, Garcia-Hernandez, Sierra-Bullones, Guindulman and Carmen are still in the process of seeking approval from their respective SP’s authorizing their mayors to enter into a loan agreement with the PGBh.

The estimated loanable amount of these seven towns, according to sources on condition of anonymity will reach P330M.

With liberal loan terms, the LGU’s reluctance to avail of the provisions of the PGBh P1B loan facility has raised serious concerns over the direction of the utilization of the water loans even as other grants and financial assistance are available through the Local Government Support fund that aids municipalities in delivering basic services to their constituents.

GENEROUS TERMS

According to the journal of proceedings of the SP session on March 9, 2021, Relampagos stressed that of the maximum amount of P2 billion Omnibus Term Loan/credit line, the Province of Bohol will only make use of the P1 billion which is part of the 2021 annual budget of the province.

Based on the information from CecilioClarete, Head of the Bohol Lending Center of LBP, the interest payment for the P1 billionloan is at two percent per annum under the Bayanihan Law, according to Relampagos.

“Should the Bayanihan subsidy depleted, the regular interest rate would be 4% per annum and this will be for a period of 15 years with a 3-year grace period before we will be required to pay to include the principal,” explained Relampagos.

“The loan that will be availed of by the Provincial Government which has already been approved by us previously in the amount of One Billion Pesos will be a supervised credit by the LBP and the release of funds of the loan availment will be based on actual accomplishments of the individual projects under the program,” Relampagos stressed. 

INTERNAL REVENUE ALLOTMENT

BM Masamayor also bared to the Chronicle the LBP offered to extend a readily available P1B credit line to augment the initial P1B loan if needed.

Water projects of the LGU’s will undergo bidding under Republic Act 9184 known as the “Government Procurement Reform  Act,” according to Masamayor.

BM Cepedoza clarified that the mechanics of the loan agreement between the PGBh and the LGU’s will be hammered out by a tripartite party which will include the LBP.

Possible defaults of LGU’s on their loans will be covered by their respective Internal Revenue Allotments (IRAs), according to Cepedoza.

OVERWHELMING CONFIDENCE   

The nine affirmative votes came from 1st District BM’s Masamayor and AldnerDamalerio, 2nd district BM’s RestitutoAuxtero and Vierna Mae Boniel-Maglasang, 3rd District BM’s ElpidioJala and Elpidio Bonita.  

The three Ex-Officio members JesceloAdiong, Philippine Councilors League (PCL) President, Romulo Cepedoza, ABC President, Liga ng mga Barangay and Christian Victor Bolos III, SangguniangKabataan (SK) Federation President also registered their yes votes. (Chito M. Visarra)

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