Friday, May 24, 2019

Cauguiran: Loans will sink Angeles City into debt trap

(Contributed photo)

ANGELES City mayoralty candidate Alex Cauguiran said his rival’s platform of borrowing money for the local government unit’s expenditures will eventually sink the city into a debt trap.

Cauguiran criticized the vice mayor and officials of the city government for “the enormity of its outstanding debt.”

Incumbent Vice Mayor Bryan Nepomuceno, another mayoralty candidate, recently publicized to pour in P1 billion for the City College of Angeles if elected mayor.

“The only logical albeit ridiculous recourse for Nepomuceno to keep his campaign promise is to borrow more, further burying the city deeper into debt, which in the end will be paid by the city’s taxpayers. Note that the total debt will leave registered voters of Angeles - around 200,000, according to the Comelec - with utang (debt) of P11,500 per individual Angeleño voter,” he added.

“City Hall has an outstanding debt of P2.3 billion, by far, the biggest debt in the history of Angeles City. Now, this outlandish promise of Nepomuceno to spend a billion pesos on top of an outstanding billion-peso loan is reflective of his utter lack of grasp of the financial resources of the city government and an obvious display of ineptitude in sound fiscal management,” Cauguiran said.

Records from the city’s budget office show that within only a period of four years - from 2014 to 2018 - the city borrowed a total of P1.5 billion, according to him.

This year, the city’s annual debt service amounts to P276 - million, with the repayment of the P1.5 - billion loan to stretch up to 15 years, he added.

“The knee-jerk mindset of massive borrowing has already emasculated (the funds for) maintenance, operating, and other expenses (MOOE) of the LGU. While it is paying hundreds of millions for the loan, it could only afford to appropriate a measly P4 million for medicines and P11 million for medical, dental, and laboratory supplies,” Cauguiran said.

In a recent candidates’ forum held in Balibago, Nepomuceno projected the city’s revenues will increase annually by P50 million and will thereby enable the LGU to pay its future loans.

But Cauguiran hit Nepomuceno’s statement saying the latter is speculating.

“This is pure hogwash and no historical data of the city’s revenues will support such wild speculation,” he added.

He said only P300 million from the LGU’s budget will be left for the maintenance and operations of all the departments and offices of the city government, including the payment of wages for 1,600 job order employees.

Cauguiran is the former president and CEO of Clark International Airport Corp. and is widely known for his results-oriented managerial skills credited with the increase in flights, destinations and revenues at the Clark International Airport.


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