Bacolod SP grants mayor authority to pursue P5.5B loan


Bacolod City – The Sangguniang Panlungsod granted recently Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez the authority to conform with the proposed term loan facilities approved by the Development Bank of the Philippines, drawable from the omnibus line in favor of Bacolod City, in the amount of P5.5 billion.

Councilors Renecito Novero and Em Ang abstained pending submission of the loan agreement, considering the amount involved. They pointed out, however, that they are not objecting to the loan facilities and projects identified.

Novero said they want to be adequately informed of the provisions that will help spell out the final document of the purpose of the P5.5 billion loan.

Ang said she wants to see the loan agreement before giving her vote to authorize the mayor to sign since the only document attached yesterday was a letter from DBP with no specific terms and conditions. She also wants the documents reviewed by the City Legal Office and the SP first.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, chair of the SP Committee on Laws, said the conforme given the mayor was to help initiate the process for Bacolod City to secure the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) debt ceiling for the city. The interest of DBP of 3.55 percent will be used by the BLGF to compute the city’s debt ceiling.

Espino said the proposed loan will still have to pass through the SP thru a memorandum of agreement for their scrutiny. Every time they draw upon a project, it will also have to pass thru the SP.

He said the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) offered an interest rate of 4.25 percent per annum fixed for three years, while DBP offered 3.75 percent fixed for two years. DBP counter offered with a 3.55 percent interest rate, while the lowest LBP could offer was 3.70 percent.

“I think the scrutiny of the Committees on Laws and Finance has benefitted Bacolod to the tune of P78 million per year if we avail of 3.55 percent (DBP) as against 3.70 percent (LBP),” he said.

Novero also questioned why the improvement of the markets is included among the projects to be funded by the P5.5 billion loan, when the three major markets have been provided by the previous administration with a budget of P50 million each for their renovation.

Espino said the mayor wants to make the markets a showcase of Bacolod that will draw people. It has a proposed budget of P525 million, but all this will be discussed in details before they start its implemention. (Chrysee Semillano via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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