LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) or provincial board of Pangasinan has given authority to Gov. Ramon Guico III to obtain a PHP6-billion loan from the Landbank of the Philippines under the terms and conditions of the Omunibus Term Loan Facility (Credit Line) to finance strategic programs and projects of the province.

Based on Resolution 825 authored by board member Vici Ventanilla and co-authored by vice governor Mark Lambino, the loan will be used to finance programs or projects for transportation amounting to PHP1.45 billion; government centers worth PHP800 million; tourism worth PHP1.95 billion; education through the establishment of the Pangasinan Polytechnic College/University worth PHP400 million; and health worth PHP1.4 billion, among others.

"With the vision to propel socio-economic growth through infrastructure development, the provincial government of Pangasinan aims to ensure the delivery of basic services and the provision of adequate facilities not only to the people living in the urban area but also in the countryside," the resolution read.

Provincial accountant Marlon Operaña of the Local Finance Committee, in an interview on Tuesday, said the provincial government has the capacity to undertake such amount of loan.

"[The] source of fund to repay the loan shall be the National Tax Allocation (formerly known as the Internal Revenue Allotment). If we try to revisit the provision of the Local Government Code of 1991, it states that a local government unit is allowed to enter into a credit facility as long as the amortization for such credit facility shall not exceed 20 percent of the Internal Revenue Allotment," he said.

Lambino, in a separate interview, said the loan is not yet a full loan but a standby fund that will be cascaded to the provincial government as soon as all the necessary legal and documentary requirements of Landbank are met.

"Ito yong pagkakataon na tayo (provincial government) ay inaprubahan ng isang financial institution na magkaroon ng standby fund na ganito kalaki. Ibig sabihin, nagtitiwala sila sa financial management ng ating probinsya para aprubahan ang ganyang kalaki ng standby fund (This is an opportunity wherein the provincial government was approved by an institution to have a standby fund with a huge amount. That means they trust the financial management of our province if they approved a huge amount of standby fund)," Lambino said. (PNA)