Cebu News

Rama wants payment for SRP loan rushed

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/ATO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines- Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama ordered the city’s Local Finance Committee to fast track the compliance of documentary requirements needed for the approval of prepayment of the South Road Properties loan.

This after Rama learned that the City Council will discuss tomorrow the P3.32 billion first supplemental budget for this year, the bulk of which is for the prepayment of the loan.

“The executive is very clear, to earmark an amount representing the entire balance of the loan. I’m directing the local finance committee to fast track the documentary requirement of the prepayment of the loan and the City Legal Office will assist the committee to comply the requirements,” Rama told reporters yesterday.

In 1996, the city government availed of a loan amounting to Y12.315 billion or around P4.65 billion from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the 300-hectare SRP. To date, Cebu City’s loan stands at over P2.3 billion.

The minimum documentary requirements for the approval of the prepayment of the loan are the City Council resolution approving the prepayment of the loan; certification from the Bureau of Local Government Finance that the transaction is within the Cebu City Government’s debt servicing limit and other pertinent rules are complied with; Department of Finance concurrence to the proposed prepayment; justification for the prepayment by the Cebu City Government; and the Land Bank of the Philippines’s concurrent to the Cebu City Government’s prepayment.

Rama said he met with representatives of DOF and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to discuss the matter. However, he declined to state the feedback of the agencies regarding the city government’s request.

Rama said he wants the members of the Local Finance Committee and other personalities to do their job in dispatching the requirements.

“The order of the day if for us and the City Council to be one, lest it should be another disloyalty allegedly to the people nga nagbayad sa sweldo, with all the billions, I do not know how many millions of people have been paying the enormous debt,” he said.

Supplemental budget

Tomorrow, the City Council is expected to deliberate the first supplemental budget endorsed by the city’s executive department.

With this, Rama wants to offer a mass hoping that the members of the legislative body will be “enlightened.”

“Bringing the presence of the holy spirit to hover the session hall, because what they can easily do with my pronouncement is to also earnestly doing their job including praying, what is primary is concurring because it is not the debt, personally of Mike Rama, it’s the debt that had caused P6 billion from the time of its inception as interest and almost P3 billion of principal,” he said.

He said his administration wants to spend the P8.375 billion the city got for the SRP lot sale with “circumspect, intelligent, and analytical” in responding to the needs of the city.

Earlier this month, the city got the P8.375 billion, which represents the 50 percent of the P16.7 billion total bid price, from the consortium of Ayala Land, Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings, as well as Filinvest Land Inc. and its affiliates after the city declared them as the winning buyers of two SRP lots.

Of the P8.375 billion, P4.5 billion was identified to fund the city’s P13.4 billion budget this year.

The city’s executive department wants to pay P60.5 million pre-termination fee for the loan of SRP reclamation and another P4.3 million for the interest, on top of the P2.42 billion balance of the loan.

Aside from the loan, the city’s executive department included P70 million for road improvements in SRP, P30 million to construct a bridge at SRP, P77.3 million for the productivity enhancement incentive of the city hall employees, P50 million for the street lighting program, P87 million for garbage collection and disposal, and P40 million in financial assistance to solo parents, P25 million for registration of land titles, 159 million for the paving and retreading of various streets, P13 million for the Colon Revitalization Project and several obligations.  (FREEMAN)



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