DBP, Virac sign P335-M loan for 6 dev’t projects
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Heralding a new phase of progress in the capital town, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the municipal government of Virac last week signed a loan agreement for P335 million for six development projects with the rehabilitation of the existing public market as the top priority.

Mayor Samuel Laynes and Francisco Sayson, head of DBP Albay Lending Unit, affixed their signatures on the credit facility, the biggest so far in the province of Catanduanes, last June 14, 2018 at the ARDCI Corporate Inn.

Also signing the agreement as witnesses were Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla, DBP Virac branch manager Lorenzo Sulit and municipal treasurer Concepcion Benavidez. The ceremony was attended by Councilors Virgilio Candelaria, Hermin Zafe, Susan Isidoro, Rosie Olarte and Amador Abichuela, as well as department heads.

The loan proceeds will be utilized by the LGU as follows: P60 million for the rehabilitation of the Virac public market in barangay Concepcion; P56.6 million for the site development and road network construction at the proposed Community Hub at barangay San Isidro Village; P15 million for the construction of the vendors’ shed at barangay Concepcion; P90 million for the construction and establishment of a sanitary landfill in barangay Magnesia del Sur; P63.4 million for the acquisition of lots for the LGU’s priority development projects; and, P50 million for the acquisition of various heavy equipment.

The lots to be acquired by the Laynes administration include 8,400 square meters at San Isidro Village for the expansion of the Community Hub (P8.4 million); three hectares at Eastern Cavinitan as a future site for commercial and institutional buildings (P40 million); and, 1.55 hectgares at Bigaa for the site of a wet market building (P15 million).

On the other hand, the P50 million allocation for the purchase of heavy equipment will enable the LGU to acquire a bulldozer with ripper, wheel-type back hoe, road roller, crawler-type back hoe, road grader with ripper, two units of six-wheeler truck, and a loader.

The municipality has the option to draw down from the loan the required funding for all six projects or one or several at a time within two years from approval, with each loan to be payable at 4% annual interest through quarterly amortization for 15 years, except for the heavy equipment loan has a repayment period of seven years.

An official source told the Tribune that initially, four of the 10 Sangguniang Bayan members did not join the majority in voting to grant authority to Mayor Laynes to negotiate the loan with the government bank. But after a session in which DBP’s Sayson discussed the matter with the municipal council, the latter voted unanimously to pass the measure that paved the way for the loan agreement.

The loan amounts will be available for release once DBP receives the required clearance from the Monetary Board and the DILG’s Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).

Last week, the same team from DBP also attended a similar loan agreement signing in Gigmoto town, where the administration of Mayor Armando Guerrero is seeking to borrow P30 million for the construction of a new municipal building to replace its aging and structurally defective existing hall and address the lack of office space.

Interacting with some members of the local media, Mayor Laynes explained that the projects being sought to be implemented by his administration is not in fulfillment of any specific promise but is intended to give fruition to his desire to do what needs to be done for the constituents of Virac.

Answering a query on why it took so long for the LGU to begin work on the public market, he commented that if the displaced market vendors wanted to move back as fast as they wanted, he could have leased the market to a private company to undertake the rehab work but he doubts whether the vendors would be able to pay for the rental of the spaces.

“Definitely the market space rental rates will increase as a consequence of the loan incurred by the municipal government for its rehabilitation,” Laynes disclosed but he clarified that the rental rates will continue to be affordable. “The market, once completed, will be consumer-friendly.”

This is the second time that the municipal government of Virac has inked a loan agreement with a government bank. During the term of then Mayor Flerida Alberto, the LGU sought a P200 million loan for the construction of a new public market at a three-hectare private lot bought for P28 million by her administration.

But opposition by the displaced market vendors to the new site, which they said is too far from the town center, scuttled the plan. The site is now being developed by the Laynes administration as a community hub where government agencies can locate their offices, with the Department of Justice the first to take advantage of the LGU’s office.

Last March 7, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II led the groundbreaking for the construction of a two-storey concrete building that will house the Provincial Prosecution Office.


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