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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, July 13, 2013
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Sale of properties
of city not certain

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Bacolod City Administrator Rolando Villamor yesterday said that, although Mayor Monico Puentevella has announced to do so, he has not yet initiated moves to sell properties of the city.

If they are clarified that there is still money left, he does not think the Mayor will proceed with the proposed plan to sell assets of the city. It is just a fallback if there is nothing else they can do, he said.

Villamor also claimed that Puentevella will not avail of loans because the city still has millions of loans to settle. Puentevella, meanwhile, has said that he is in “the dark” about such matters.

Bacolod Rep. and former Mayor Evelio Leonardia had earlier said in reaction that all these are being made as excuses to justify selling the properties of the city, that he calls “very mysterious and extremely suspicious.” The plan was announced only nine days after Puentevella assumed office.

He said all this hullabaloo is just to give them a reason to broker for the sale of the properties of the city, Leonardia also said.

Leonardia added that his administration has not borrowed that much money for their various major projects and that as of June, the balance of the bank loans was only P485 million and it is, in fact, getting smaller.

Villamor said he hopes that by next week, the City Treasurer will be able determine how much money Puentevella can use to hire casual workers so those who have volunteered their services will be paid. He said they will not hire the same number of casuals hired by the previous administration.

If there are offices or areas that need personnel, he will tap the students of the Bacolod City College and the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College who want to undergo on-the-job training, he said.

Villamor said that during an inquiry at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Wednesday, they were informed that the city has more than P300 million in time deposit, aside from current account deposits in different banks.

But this could not be used for whatever purpose Puentevella would like, he said, as these have been obligated for payment of salary and other expenses.

Villamor said payments for the loan principals and interest will also be taken from the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment.

Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya said the Finance Committee has assured them that the city is financially stable and that the City Accountant has even issued a certification that there is a surplus of P50 million from the savings of 2012. It is up to the mayor how to utilize the budget.

Gasataya said the payments for the loans incurred by the city have already been appropriated in the Annual Budget.

Villamor said Puentevella will meet with the Finance Committee to dig deeper into the financial status of the city. They will ask the City Treasurer for documents to know the city’s real financial state.

However, during an inquiry by the SP Wednesday, City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos said that the city has more than P700 million in time and current account deposits in the bank, while City Accountant Ed Ravena informed the members of the SP that the city has a surplus of P50 million from its savings in 2012.*CGS

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