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Boholanos Condemn P50 Million Loan Scandal

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MIKELIGALIG.com

Boholanos Condemn P50 Million Loan Scandal
« on: February 15, 2010, 10:26:51 AM »
By Bohol Chronicle

Public indignation over the absence of transparency at the city hall mounts as the public's insistent demand for such - reached a high note.

This led to a signature campaign to stop city hall from availing of P50 million from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

The letter addressed to Reynaldo G. David, president/CEO of the bank, sought the bank's "ample deliberation and consideration taking into account the outcry of the Tagbilaranons for an honest and transparent accounting of all government projects."

During the top-rated "Inyong Alagad" program of dyRD last Wednesday and Thursday, well meaning citizens initiated the signature campaign to inform bank officials on this lack of transparency as far as the borrower (city government) is concerned on how the first loan was used and how the second tranche will be spent.

Concerned residents through the radio program asked City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso to write the bank as they were ready to affix their signatures in support to the call for transparency.

The residents asked that the original manifesto/letter to the bank should be made available in every city district so that Tagbilaranons can read it and affix their signatures.

In a two-page letter to DBP President David, the vice mayor cited that under Sec. 316 of the Local Government Code a "local finance committee to be composed of the local planning and development officer, budget officer and the treasurer shall recommend to the local chief executive concerned the proper allocation of expenditures for each development activity between current operating expenditures and capital outlays."
         
The same provision states that what is required is the "conduct of semi-annual review and general examination of cost and accomplishments against performance standards applied in undertaking development projects."

Veloso informed the bank president that until this time there were no submitted Program of Works and Accomplishment Reports relative to the utilization of the first P50 million loan.

The release of the second tranche will not only violate the above cited provision but is likewise a glaring defiance of the basic tenets of transparency and public accountability, Veloso stressed.

The vice mayor likewise said the terms and conditions of the Contract of Loan was hastily ratified without any representative from the DBP who could at least have articulated on the details at least up to the interest rate to be paid by the city government.

"Tyranny of the majority bloc in our Sangguniang Panlungsod indeed catered the conjuring approval of what clearly appeared to be irregular and abhorrent," Veloso cited.

"We sincerely understand that the DBP does not want to become an accomplice to any irregularity in the release of the loan," Veloso concluded.

PUBLIC SUPPORT

A resounding support on the call for transparency echoed through the radio airwaves during the past three days.

The latest affirmation of public indignation against the absence of public accountability registered in "Radyo Merkado," a top-rated weekly radio program of dyRD yesterday.

A remarkable 86% of the respondents expressed "approval and agreement" to the move of Vice Mayor Veloso of adjourning last Friday's session.

Most of the respondents said it was the "right thing to do" amid the pressure tactics of the majority bloc.

"The absence of documents (accomplishment report/program of work) is a clear indication that funds were not and will not be properly spent," was the common comment of the respondents.

At the same time, 92.5% of those who approved of the Vice Mayor's adjounment of the session suspect the "funds will be used for election campaign" citing that aside from the city post reelectionists, two of the lawmakers are running for higher positions.

Some respondents said that if the fund is indeed for road rehabilitation, then the best time to release such would be after the elections in order to avoid public suspicion.

The 14% who did not agree with the Vice Mayor's early adjournment said Veloso should have allowed further discussion of the supplemental budget in order to ventilate opinions of the other lawmakers.

"It was highly questionable why he (Veloso) adjourned the session when there were still other matters to be discussed," the respondents asked.

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