By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY – ‘The cat is out in the bag’. This was the reaction of Board Member Vladimir Frivaldo after receiving the agenda on Mondays session wherein it contained a stapled addendum numerated as Item 5.2.8 stating the invitation of Governor Raul Lee on October 19, this year to the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement for the 350 million pesos fresh loan of the province negotiated with the Land Bank of the Philippines in Legaspi City.
The addendum was contained in the letter of the governor calling the attention of the Vice-Governor Antonio Escudero, Jr. dated October 5 and was stamped received on the following day enjoining the vice-governor, chairman and members of the committee on budget and appropriation and the chairman and members on committee on public works, infrastructure and highways and the rest of the legislative board to be on hand for the MOA signing.
Anent to it, Lee requested the body for an urgent special session on October 21 for the purpose of ratifying and/or confirming/affirming the aforementioned subject loan Memorandum of Agreement(MOA).
Prior to this letter, the populace of Sorsogon was still in the dark on the status of the loan. Even the members of the legislative board are mum in discussing the issue.
The last information was the strident requirements requested by the Philippine National Bank which was first picked by the provincial government as the loan source.
One of the safeguard requested by PNB is the submission of a certification that the borrower representative must secure a certification from government agency that he is not facing criminal charges.
This was seen as a stumbling block of Lee’s administration for the early release of the loan, for the governor is facing graft cases with the ombudsman, thus, opting to source out LBP for the purpose.
The ratification of the loan will be a welcome development for most of the political allies of the Governor Lee, they will be using it as an early campaign propaganda for their re-election bid for 2013, according to Lee’s critics.
One agri-fishery town will receive 20 million pesos worth of infrastructure projects and not be discounted are the clamor of the members of the provincial board that they too receive a token of millions pesos.
However, by and large, though this loan clogs our nostrils, the province is still in a good position to fulfill its repayment per certification from the Bureau of Local Government Finance that it has a borrowing capacity of 703.9 million pesos.
Observers opined that eager bees are smelling the sweet honey and a good omen for re-electionist allies of Governor Lee. BicolToday.com
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