Samar Gov. Tan: P800M loan will move after May elections

Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - March 2, 2016 - 9:00am

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines — “Based on the last talk we have with the Land Bank, I told them that we will opt to enter into the loan agreement after the elections, at which time the bidding process of the projects will be possible,” said Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan yesterday.

Tan clarified that, even if the loan agreement with the bank will be entered this time, the Omnibus Election Code still prohibits the bidding for the projects, as stipulated in the loan agreement.

“Though they asked us if we wanted to sign the agreement earlier, we decided to deal with it after the elections. This will somehow clarify the propaganda by the opposition and further spell out the issue with the Samarnons,” said the governor.

Tan said the opposition “has been using this (loan issue) in their campaign as if it’s real that the loan can be used for the elections.  It is not and will never be, because all of these projects are yet to be bid out and can be implemented only after the Comelec ban. These will be under the monitoring of the creditor.”

However, Provincial Board Member Alma Uy, who had been vocal in opposing the proposed loan, said otherwise and undermined the process amid the Comelec ban. She assailed that the loan agreement, if approved, will still benefit the re-election bid of the Tan family in the May 9 elections.

Uy also told The Freeman she received a reply yesterday from the Land Bank relative to her request to hold in abeyance the signing of the loan agreement.

The bank had put on hold this matter, she said, pending the resolution of the court cases she filed earlier against the Capitol leadership, as well as her request with the Ombudsman to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the loan proposal.

“Should there be a case filed against the LGU and its officials involved in the projects to be financed, the bank reserves the right to withhold releases,” as stipulated in the Land Bank letter sent to Uy. “The letter likewise said that, for the meantime, the loan will not be processed, until the election period is over and the cases are resolved,” Uy said in her message to The Freeman.

This new development, with the bank, Uy said “is a victory for the Samarnons who will be paying the loan for 15 years.

“As of now, my motion for reconsideration on the cases I filed in the RTC is up for resolution in the coming weeks. Though it still is a long way to go, but these are signs of relief and that our efforts are not going to naught,” Uy said.

The governor however reiterated her assurance to the supposed beneficiaries of the proposed P800-million loan that, after the election ban on government projects , the provincial government will proceed with the proposed projects covered by the loan agreement.

“These local projects are needed to ignite development in remote areas, not to mention that these are likewise complementing initiatives by the provincial government to various projects coming in soon from the national government,” Tan added. —(FREEMAN)

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