BONTOC, Mountain Province – The provincial government here underscore bulk of the P270 million loan it acquired from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) has been programmed to rehabilitate and upgrade various local roads in the ten municipalities in order to enhance the inter-municipal, inter-provincial and inter-regional linkages beneficial to spurring economic growth in the remote villages provincewide.
Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen revealed each of the ten municipalities were given allocations of at least P20 million primarily for the rehabilitation, upgrading and concreting of major roadlines leading to their places while a portion of the loan will be used for priority development projects identified by the provincial government to compliment existing infrastructure projects in the different towns.
“We have to at least ensure that the development of our local roads will at least coincide with the fast-paced development of national roads so that local residents and tourists will have a convenient time travelling to and from the different parts of the province in the future,” Mayaen stressed.
It can be recalled that the provincial government acquired a similar loan from the government bank three years ago to jumpstart the improvement of various provincial and local roads in the ten municipalities with similar allocations.
According to him, a portion of the province’s 20 percent Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) being deposited in the bank is being spared from appropriation to guarantee for the loan considering that the same represents the supposed allotment for the projects that will fall under the 20 percent local development fund.
Under the latest assessment of the finance department on the capacity of the provincial government to acquire a loan from financial institutions, the governor pointed out the local government has a loan capacity of more than P530 million even after the acquisition of the latest loan and the pendency of the amount from the previous loan that is still being amortized.
He asserted the speedy development of local roads will allow farmers to be able to immediately bring their agricultural products to the nearest market with lesser expenses compared to when the provincial roads were unpaved and undeveloped aside from ensuring convenient travel among the motoring and commuting public.
The acquisition of the province’s latest loan was done through the initiative of the provincial board which passed the required resolution for the local government to acquire the loan and detailing the projects where the amount will be used.
However, Mayaen cited only P172 million was initially released by the bank in order to jumpstart the projects that were covered by the first tranche while the remaining amount will be released after the province shall have complied with the pertinent documentary requirements to facilitate its immediate processing and release.
Mayaen likened the acquisition of the loan to owning a house through similar means using an individual’s title over his property as a collateral, saying that instead of being able to own a house after ten years, an individual can own the house within the first year through the acquisition of a loan and slowly pay the amortization for ten years instead of having to wait for ten years to save for such desired property.
For a province which has an annual IRA of at least P600 million that increases annually by at least P50 million, the governor explained only P120 million is being set aside for the province’s local development fund and out of the said amount, only P60 will be used to amortize the loan while the balance will be used by the local government to fund other priority projects being requested by the different barangays and municipalities and the priority programs of the provincial government.
Using his earlier arguments, Mayaen claimed the provincial government worked out the acquisition of the loan this early so that local residents will be able to enjoy good roads instead of having to wait for a longer period of time to have properly concreted roads in time when the national government was also doing its part to concrete existing national roads in the different parts of the archipelago.
The local chief executive welcomed critics to the acquisition of the said loan, saying that everyone is welcome to share his or her opinion on the matter but it will be the beneficiaries in the different municipalities who will be able to speak out the truth on the benefits of having their roads paved early rather than wait for a longer period of time prior to the realization of such infrastructure projects.
Aside from significantly contributing to the generation of jobs in the different parts of the province, he said the simultaneous concreting of national and provincial roads have attracted the influx of interested investors to potential business centers outside the capital town and potential growth areas in the province.
By Dexter A. See