[ Manila Bulletin Online ] December 25, 2008
By DEXTER A. SEE
PARACELIS, Mountain Province -- Concerned residents and local officials of this fifth-class municipality are opposing an application of the municipal government for a P40-million loan with the Philippine National Bank (PNB) with the town’s 20 percent development fund as collateral.
They said the amortization of the loan would disrupt the delivery of services to the people as well as the implementation of priority projects in the different barangays.
The loan is intended to fund the construction of a public market and a transport terminal and the acquisition of heavy equipment.
Earlier, the municipal council authorized the mayor to obtain a loan from any lending institution and to engage the services of AMCA Group Global Resources Corp.
Following the mandate of the council, Parcelis Mayor Pedro Alma entered into an agreement with AMCA as consultant which will be paid eight percent of the loan or P3.2 million for the preparation of a feasibility study which is now being done.
Various sectors opposed the acquisition of the loan, saying the municipal government is allegedly "hiding something." They said that the commission to be paid to the consultant is too much and that the services of the firm can be performed by the municipal development coordinator.
The oppositors said that the site of the proposed market is very far from the town proper.
Furthermore, the proposed projects of the town are not reportedly income-generating. As such, the municipal government could not sustain the payment of the loan, they said.
In the event of default in payment, the town’s internal revenue allotment would be confiscated by the bank. This would jeopardize the implementation of the priority projects in the barangays, they said.
Barangay officials echoed the concerns of the oppositors, saying that with the loan, the municipal government may not be able to provide basic services to the people. They also said that the loan is not timely, and the projects are not feasible.
The municipal officials who are proponents of the loan branded the opposition as politically motivated and orchestrated by politicians who are merely grandstanding.
They said that three of the main actors in the consultation organized for purpose are eyeing the top municipal position in the 2010 elections.
They said they are confident that once the people know the benefits of the loan proposal, they would support it. They also said that the oppositors are outnumbered by those who believe in the wisdom of investing in the development of the town.