The P180 million additional loan for Negros First CyberCentre being requested for approval by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental, and the P1.6 billion in bank balances, will be taken up at a joint committee hearing of the Finance and Infrastructure committees next week.
Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson who had been furnished with copies of the summary of bank balances of the provincial government by the Acting Provincial Accountant Carolina Isuga, said he wants to ask questions from her.
If indeed it has already been allocated to certain projects or items, probably there are still some unrestricted funds, that, hopefully, the provincial accountant can tell us,” Lacson said.
The summary of bank balances of the provincial government, a copy of which was secured by the media, showed that it has P1,092,671,502. 20 in time deposit, and P545,824,858.59 in current account, or a total of P1,638,496,360.79, as of May 31.
It is broken down into P829,348,255.66 for the general fund, Economic Enterprise Development Division - P404,534,383.06, Trust Fund (restricted) – P261,562,829.70 and Special Education Fund – P143,050,892.37.
Asked if he is not satisfied with the Provincial Accountant report, Lacson said “I am very happy that I got a reply immediately, and (for) the cooperation of our Provincial Accountant”
He admitted that he was the one who had requested for a budget hearing on the proposed P180 million loan, for the benefit of new SP members.
Board Member Salvador Escalante, chairperson of the SP Committee on Finance, said the breakdown of the P180 million loans to the Development Bank of the Philippines were part of the discussions during the committee hearing, and he also invited all board members to attend.
Escalante said he will ask the Chief Executive to prepare a presentation for the board members on the proposed loan during the committee hearing, and also invited Provincial Administrator Enrique Pinongan, and representatives of the Provincial Engineering and Budget offices.
The P450 million Negros First CyberCentre project had undergone scrutiny by the previous SP during the election period.
Escalante said 60 percent of the P450 million has already been released, with about P200 million that was already approved yet to be availed of. But he said the inspection and inventory of the project by engineers of PEO, contractor and the bank are now ongoing.
Other members of the Finance committee are Board Member Renato Malabor, vice chairman, and Board Members Rolando Ponsica, Isidro Zayco and Miller Serondo.
Questions were raised on why the provincial government should secure a P180 million loan if it has more than P1 billion in the bank.
Marañon said the savings of the provincial government cannot be used for the CyberCentre, because it is a trust fund with specific programs.
The provincial government has to use its current available resources for the project requests of towns and cities. That is why it needs to get a loan for the CyberCentre, he added.
Meanwhile, the proposed resolutions supporting the creation of one-island Negros region and the request for the Negros Occidental solons to sponsor a House bill creating Negros island as one region, authored by Board Member Renato Malabor, have been referred to the SP Committee of Laws.
Malabor said that if the Committee on Laws recommends it for second reading, it will be deliberated on the SP in the next session.*GPB