PGNV Eyes P1B Stimulus Loan Package

Backgrounder of the InitiativeThe Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya (PGNV), through Governor Carlos M. Padilla, is one among the “early birds” that signified earnest interest to avail of the economic recovery and development loan package being offered by the Department of Finance (DOF), through the Disaster Management Assistance Fund and Municipal Development Fund Office.This is part of the wide array of interventions of the national leadership for local government units to help them weather and quickly recover from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the whole world.It also derives legal support from the Local Government Code of 1991 which empowers local government units to create indebtedness, and avail of credit facilities to finance their local infrastructure and other socio-economic development projects in accordance with their duly approved local development plans and public investment programs.Accordingly and reckoning on the recommendations of its support technical working group, the PGNV’s Local Finance Committee (LFC), had proposed at least P1B to finance some priority infrastructure components of its socio-economic recovery and growth acceleration program.PPDC Edgardo D. Sabado, LFC Chairperson, said “The infrastructure projects to be funded by the P1B stimulus loan package are among the priority proposals under the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) and its adjunct Provincial Development Investment Program (PDIP), along with the other strategic and medium-term socio-economic development plans crafted by the multi-sector/discipline Provincial Development Council alongside its support committees, technical working groups, and other specials bodies. All of the foregoing form part of the integrated development plans for the whole of Cagayan Valley Region (Region 02), and the country’s overarching ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’.”It is of common knowledge that the practice of borrowing in support of developmental programs and projects is not foreign to dynamic organizations in the government sector, both national and local, and the private sector including, sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives.Although at the outset, the Executive Branch’s request for a Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution affirming the interest of the PGNV to apply, negotiate and borrow funds from the lending institution drew a cold shoulder among some board members, including the presiding vice-governor, the same was eventually passed after some grueling legislative sessions by virtue of a majority vote.During the ensuing round of onsite/grassroots consultations conducted by a composite team led by Governor Padilla himself on 27, 29, and 30 July, there was an observed overwhelming approval among villagers of the proposed stimulus loan, after having been apprised of the immediate and long-term benefits that it could bring to their respective communities, and the whole province, in general. Governor Padilla has set the second and final level of the requisite public consultations on 10 and 12 August at the Balai Gloria in Solano for the north and south district stakeholders, respectively.Aims of the ProjectsThe two-pronged proposal intends to achieve strategic health and economic goals, i.e., presence of (a) facilities that can address the growing number of patients and fill the gaps in basic medical services as well, and (b) road networks that afford ease of mobility of people and commodities, not to mention the consequent heightening of business activities along and within the vicinity of the improved provincial road networks.In a report presented by the Team, 20.30% (or P203M) of the total loan package, which is interest-free, shall be allocated for COVID-19 and other health-related capital outlays, namely, (a) P167M for the construction of a Main Building and establishment of an accompanying Biohazard Level 2 Laboratory for the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital (NVPH), and (b) P36M for the construction of Medical Facilities and Access Road for the Bagabag District Hospital.The larger 79.70% portion (or P797M), which bears a low interest of 4.25% per annum, shall be used to finance the concreting of provincial road networks having a combined clear span of 78.53 km that traverse several adjoining barangays of the municipalities of Aritao, Dupax del Sur, Dupax del Norte, Kasibu, Diadi, Bagabag, and Quezon. As of 30 June 2020, the PGNV had so far paved 46.92% (or 36.85 km), out of which a 26.68 km span was accomplished during the last ten (10) years. That leaves more or less 41.68 km of unpaved road networks needing the requested amount of funding.It is interesting to note that the decade-long 26.68 km accomplishment, most of which were implemented within the tenure of the two (2) Padilla Governors, account for about 72.40% of the 36.85 km total length of paved roads so far. About 77.49% (or P259.65) of the total expenditure of P335.08M for the said 26.68 km road length came from the Kalsada/Conditional Matching Grant to Provinces (CMGP) Program of the DILG clinched under the (N)etworking component of the PGNV’s holistic PRAYERS N FAITH 13-point development agenda. The smaller 22.51% portion (or P75.43M) spent during the same period translates to about P7.54M average annual capital outlays from the PGNV itself.Given the present estimated cost of P797M in completing the paving of 41.68 km road length and the average annual capital outlay of P33.51M (i.e., P335.08/10) for the past 10 years, it would then take the PGNV more than two decades (P797M/P33.51M = 24.79 years) to fulfill its mandate even if it is done in tandem with concerned line agencies, like the DILG. It could even take a much longer period if we do it on our own and if we also take into account price increases in materials and labor cost”, Governor Padilla explained.“With the completion of the proposed projects in just two or three years through this P1B loan, our constituents who are already in their twilight years are given more chances to feel the presence of their government and enjoy the benefits of its programs. There will be a domino effect on development when the supposed appropriations for provincial road network improvements in ensuing years are diverted to other important concerns, like helping our component local governments to also enhance their connecting municipal/barangay road networks, and establishing more livelihood projects for our people, among others”, he added.Loan Burden and ProprietyAssuring the villagers during their engagement with the Consultative Team, Governor Padilla said, “You should never worry about the allegation that you will be personally paying for the loan as it is an obligation of the provincial government, and not your and your barangay or municipal government’s responsibility.”“The lending institution is urging us to avail of its credit facility, which only means that it is confident on the provincial government’s creditworthiness and ability to pay, as it will even be boosted further by the forthcoming implementation of the Mandanas Law, a Supreme Court ruling that mandates a substantial increase in the annual Internal Revenue Allotments for local governments”, he added.As regards the possibility of graft and corruption relative thereto that is also being raised by some quarters, Governor Padilla retorted, “The track record of your provincial government with the COA will speak for itself. It will be counter-productive and constitute an abdication of our sworn duty if we stop initiating projects needed by our people only because of their unfounded or flimsy suspicions.”“This is the most opportune time for us to implement more massive and far-reaching projects that will benefit our people and succeeding generations, and to break off from the traditional “putid-putid, inut-inut” way of doing such things”, he added.#jlc

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