THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental’s General Fund Supplemental Budget No. 4 amounting to P912 million was approved by the Provincial Board on Wednesday, September 13.
The amount covers 33 projects, mostly infrastructure, given as grant to various local government units (LGUs) in the province.
These projects include farm-to-market roads with project costs of P549 million; purchase of heavy equipment, P128.4 million; port development in Sagay City, P86 million; construction of public market in Hinoba-an, P60 million; construction of San Enrique Public Market, P60 million; and Kabankalan Airport runway development, P30 million.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman committee on appropriation, budget and finance, said the allocation forms part of the P1.4 billion loan agreement entered by the province with the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) of the Department of Finance.
He said the remaining P493 million covers nine projects, whose proponents are still in the process of complying with the requirements set by the technical committee of the MDFO.
“The provincial government will be the one who will pay the loan to the MDFO. Meaning, the projects are given as a sort of grant to the recipient cities and municipalities,” Escalante said, adding that “the loan has an average interest rate of 3.5 to four percent.”
Among the projects that still need to comply with the requirements include those of seven LGUs.
These are the construction of Bago City Public Market worth P88 million; La Castellana Public Market, P60 million; bridge construction in Isabela, P60 million; Candoni Public Market, P50 million; hospital development in Calatrava, P40 million; Toboso Government Center development, P30 million; and San Carlos City road concreting, P30 million.
The LGUs are urged to comply before the scheduled last technical committee meeting of the MDFO at the end of the month, Escalante said.
The two other projects include the P85 million for information and communication technology (ICT) sector development, and P50 million for the multi-purpose building construction of the provincial government.
“The Provincial Board will pass another supplemental budget for the remaining amount,” Escalante said, adding that “hurdling the SP is part of the requirements for the bidding to proceed.”
Under the loan agreement, payments for most of the infrastructure projects are long term. Interest rate is also fixed, and even lower especially for Yolanda-related projects.
“This is very attractive for the province also because the MDFO offered a grace period of at least three years,” Escalante said, adding that the construction of these projects will start next year.