The provincial government of Negros Occidental intends to seek P500 million in loans from three government financial institutions to finance its four major infrastructure projects.
For these, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. has requested the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for the passage of a resolution granting him authority to negotiate for loans with the Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Veterans Bank.
Re-electionist Vice-Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, however, expressed reservations over the proposed P500 million loans for the proposed projects, including renovation of the Provincial Administration Center with a budget of P185.9 million, Negros First Food Terminal – P115.4 million, Negros First Hostel- P113.9 million, and Mambukal Convention Center – P84.7 million.
“We have to make sure that there is really a need for the loan of P500 million” Lacson said.
Board Member Salvador Escalante, chairperson of the SP committee on Finance, yesterday said there will be a committee en banc meeting on Feb. 10 to discuss the proposed P500 million loans, and to invite Capitol department heads to answer questions from SP members.
Lacson, who is being challenged in the vice-gubernatorial race by Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, running mate of unopposed Gov. Maranon, said he wants to know the current balance of loans of the province.
With this proposed new loans, how much will our loan amortizations be every year, he asked, stressing that the provincial government is paying P190 million loans this year alone.
With these new loans, that will obviously increase, Lacson added.
Asked is he is opposing the projects, Lacson said he is in favor of the Mambucal Convention Center, as it is an income-generating project.
As to the Negros First Hostel, which is the improvement of Captel, he noted that it has not maximized its potential income, citing the free use of its rooms many times.
If we are to build the Negros First Hostel, Lacson stressed a need for the passage of an ordinance to prevent “free use” of the place, setting the rates and limitations to the discounts.
After all, we are spending big money here, and the purpose also is to improve the income, he said.
As to the renovation of PAC, Lacson said the possible moving out of provincial government center to the 25-hectare lot in Talisay City, was among the justifications given in the purchase of property worth P225 million.
If we spend P185 million for the renovation of PAC, I think we will not leave that building in five to 10 years, he added.
Building a new (PAC) building, obviously is telling us that we are remaining in the area for a very, very long time, he said.
The justification of moving the government center to Talisay City, is now in question, Lacson pointed out.
“That's why I hope that the Talisay property will be reconsidered by the governor,” Lacson said, apparently referring to the purchase of the P225 million property.
With regards to the Negros Food Terminal, Lacson said it is an income generating project. When it is managed properly, he added, it can add to the income of the provincial government.
Even if the SP gives the authority to Gov. Marañon for negotiate for loans, it still needs the monetary board approval, Lacson also said.
He said he is looking at the Ayala Land payment to property of the Capitol as a source of money to finance the infra projects. “But probably we have to give up on the purchase of the Talisay property,” Lacson added.*GPB
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