Antoni to city officials: Stop insisting in taking out loan
TACLOBAN CITY—”Shut up, shape up or better yet ship out!”
This was how City Vice-Mayor Arvin Antoni advised officials of the city government who still insist of taking out a P600 million-loan from a government and a private commercial bank.
”Even if they want to borrow money, it cannot be had because the BLGF (Bureau of Local Government Finance) has already withdrawn the city’s authority to do so,” Antoni said during yesterday’s regular press briefing at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Citing Sec. 324 of Republic Act 7160, known as the Local Government Code, Antoni said it is the law that prevents the city from borrowing money.
A review of documents submitted by the city government showed that while it intends to take out P622.65 million, the city council’s permit limited the amount to only P400 million to be drawn from Development Bank of the Philippines and Philippine Veterans Bank.
According to the BLGF central office, said discrepancy, coupled with the city’s failure to submit a certification of no compensating balance requirement which is compliant with Local Finance Circular No. 1-2012, it materially affected the earlier evaluation they made.
The loan is expected to finance several projects, including the construction of a two-storey hospital building, a sanitary landfill, a new city police and fire station and procurement of heavy equipment.
BLGF’s decision was, however, misconstrued by some sectors in the city and placed the blame on the minority bloc of the city council. A rally was held during last Wednesday’s regular session purportedly questioning the minority members of the council—Antoni, Councilors Neil Glova and Jerry Uy, as to why they opposed the plan of the city to secure a loan.
Antoni said the city government still has ± 300 million in outstanding debts.
“If the city government wants to secure ± 622 million more than its allowable debt capacity, it would create an imminent danger to the city’s treasury,” Antoni said
”This is the first time in history and only in Tacloban that a rally was staged against minority members of a council just because the administration was not allowed to borrow money,” Antoni said.
”For all we know, most if not all, who joined in the said rally, do not really know what issue is being raised. There was no identified leadership structure. What was clear was there were consultants of the city spotted in the rally and city-owned vehicles used to transport the rallyists,” Antoni added.
He said he received complaints from the rallyists themselves that they were promised by the organizers they will be given money and food, but to no avail.
The vice-mayor also deplored those who instigated innocent people to join the rally because they did not respect the city council that was holding its regular session.
“The rallyists voluntarily dispersed because they do not know about the issue. Some even asked me money for their fare home,” Antoni said.
”I have been constant in issuing this challenge to have a debate with the city mayor [Alfred Romualdez] so that the people would know what is really happening in the city government…so that the people would know who is telling the truth and who is not,” Antoni added. (REYAN L. ARINTO)
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=33134