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Rally rocks Saint Bernard

SLT 1251

February 10-16, 2024

During a recent “Peace Rally” in Saint Bernard reportedly led by former Mayor Willy Calapre and Vice-Mayor Joy Bungcaras, some residents expressed their dissent toward a planned 177-million-peso loan for the building of a two-storey municipal building and a fish port facility.
The rallyists voiced out concerns about the financial capacity of the local government unit (LGU) of Saint Bernard to repay the loan within 15 years, possible tax hikes, and the alleged prioritization of community needs over infrastructure projects. A petition was reportedly circulated urging the LGU not to proceed with the loan.
In an interview with SLT, Municipal Administrator of Saint Bernard, Atty. Maria Eva G. Cabug-os, stated the purpose behind the two loans: one amounting to 147 million pesos is intended for constructing a municipal building equipped with an evacuation center, and a loan of 30 million pesos for the establishment of a fish port facility in the municipality.
Atty. Cabug-os clarified that there might be some confusion regarding the loan amount because of the project’s phased approach, encompassing different tasks such as setting up temporary offices, demolition, building and port construction, landscaping and fencing.
In addressing the recent opposition towards the planned loan, Atty. Cabug-os cited possible lack of awareness partnered with possible political motivation.
Earlier, incumbent Saint Bernard Mayor Edito Mulig conducted a public forum in connection with the municipality’s planned projects, citing the imperative for municipal enhancements and revenue-generating ventures. The comments from the open forum underscored some residents’ concerns about the loan’s magnitude, the preference for a hospital over the municipal building, suspicion of financial interests. It was explained that the Department of Finance (DOF) has already scrutinized the municipality’s borrowing capacity, ensuring the municipality’s ability to repay the loan. (Andrea Vista)

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