Bacolod City Councilors Wilson Gamboa, Jr. and Claudio Jesus ‘Kalaw’ Puentevella called a press conference last week to express their opposition to the manner and process in which a P1.7 billion Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) loan was obtained by the city government. According to the two minority city legislators, the matter has already reached an “alarming level” both within the government and amongst the public.
They issued a statement in order to inform the public of a letter they sent to DBP, which the lending institution has since forwarded to their central office.
In addition, one of their primary contentions was how majority bloc in the Sanguniang Panglungsod (SP) brushed aside their objections and inquiries for clarification.
The two city councilors also wanted to present how the majority in the local legislative body acquiesced (in full obedience and without question) to every request of the mayor regarding the loan. Approval to enter into the loan was passed despite the public questioning the feasibility of borrowing such an amount; the necessity of the proposed projects, including the P800 million Bacolod MassKara Coliseum; and, given this year’s upcoming midterm elections, the timeliness of the proposal.
Do we really need the loan?
Bacolodnons are asking: Do we really need the loan? How significant and important are these proposed projects? Will they benefit the impoverished residents of the city? Do the projects answer the pressing needs of the city?
In 2016, the incumbent mayor promised “good governance anchored on responsibility and transparency.” Yet, the city has not been responsible on a number a problems, including insufficient medical facilities, a lack of order in the streets, substandard waste management, inadequate basic services, among others.
Worse yet, the city has not shown an ounce of transparency with regard to securing the loan.
Rommel Jamero and former Bacolod City Councilor Homer Bais, who are both seeking seats in the SP, have expressed similar sentiment and are left with no other recourse but to bring the matter directly before the public. They must inform city residents of the type of government currently in office – one without a sense of responsibility and transparency.
Meanwhile, Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiarian issued a statement affirming all provisions and processes were observed with regard to the loan./WDJ