PHILIPPINE Veterans Bank (PVB) has already released the much-awaited and controversial loan the city of Bacolod has applied from it.

Of the P250 million loan, PVB released on February 25 an initial P129,069,820, said Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Friday.

The loan is for the city’s relocation project that will benefit the informal settlers that numbered to more than 10,000 families.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2010.

Leonardia said: “The PVB head office credited into the current account of the city with them. The amount of P129,069,820 representing the net loan proceeds from the first partial availment on the P250-million loan of the city for the purchase and development of squatters’ relocation site.”

The amount will be utilized by the city to fully pay the sale consideration of P129,069,820 of the ratified Deed of Sale over the Andal/Antigua (Arao) properties after the usual operating procedures for making such payment are complied with, he said.

Leonardia noted that the decision of the board is that it’s a business loan for legitimate purposes.

It was approved and commitment of fund availability was made and for which transactions and contract at the local government units’ end were consummated, he said.

He added that the bank cannot renege on its commitment for it will compromise its professional integrity, “not to mention the grave legal risks for specific performance and damages.”

He also said that the city has done all the documentary requirements, including the transfer of Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to the bank.

“There’s no other righteous and professional decision on this issue except to comply with the bank commitment. This is the decision and unless a Court restrained us to proceed. The decision of the Board is final,” said Leonardia.

On the other hand, Councilor Al Victor Espino, chair committee on finance, said the City Government has already processed payments to the owners of the relocation site property.

He said the release of said amount is the first tranche of the P250-million loan.

He cited those cases filed opposing to the release of the City Government loan are all politically motivated, which include the case filed before the Darab office by complainants Elsie Guanco, spouses Alan Cuyos and Ma. Fe Cuyos, Alteo Perez and Antonio Perez Jr. for the declaration of nullify of sale and injunction with prayer for TRO and writ of preliminary injunction against owners of Arao properties, who include Nellie Antigua, Romanita Andal, Lynette Punzalan, Sonia Arao, Anelie Arao, Elisieta Arao, Aniano Arao Jr., Eugenio Arao, Sophie Nguyen, and Eva Gumtang.

The City Government, PVB, and the City Register of Deeds have been slapped with those cases, including a case filed with Darab.

“All of their allegations are baseless,” Espino said, referring to the complainants.

Espino said that for all the things they have been called by the opposition’s group, “all of it are politically motivated, because of all the cases and oppositions filed against the city officials… we passed through all of that and this is above board.” (MAP)