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Nueva Vizcaya’s opposition blocks P1-billion bank loan

BAGUIO CITY — The minority group in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Nueva Vizcaya province has blocked Governor Jose Gambito’s plan to borrow P1 billion from the Philippine National Bank to support infrastructure projects.

“The minority group voted against the (loan proposal) because disadvantages outweigh the advantages,” said Provincial Board Member Eduardo “Edu” Balgos.

He explained that “the prime factor in deciding whether or not an LGU will borrow money is the benefit our constituents will gain from the said transaction. 

"Sad to say, the clamor of the people was not heard. What our farmers, gardeners and other sectors need is direct assistance such as additional capital, subsidy and ayuda as the province especially its agriculture was hardly hit by Typhoon Goring and African Swine Fever (ASF)," he added.

Balgos noted that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan declared a state of calamity twice this year due to the typhoon and ASF. 

“Added to the dilemma of our farmers is the stiff competition brought about by imported farm produce,” he claimed.

Balgos said Gambito’s plan is to allocate a large part of the loan for his infrastructure projects, and not for assistance to farmers.

“What is perplexing is that more than 95 percent of the loan amount will go to infrastructure. Although many of the infra projects are farm-to-market roads,  however, the immediate yearning of the farmers is livelihood program,” he said.

In a Facebook post on November 7, Nueva Vizcaya public information officer Rachel Magday said Gambito appealed to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to approve his proposal to avail of a P1-billion loan to finance the governor’s flagship projects meant to stimulate economic growth and improve the living standards of the people in the province.

Board Member Patricio Dumlao Jr., chair of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan’s Committee on Rules, said that the council should “ensure that all proceedings align with the law.”

Gambito also requested for authority to negotiate with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) on the payment of transfer tax.

PSALM in December 2021 took over the management of the 165-megawatt Casecnan Multipurpose and