Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Cebu touts debt-free status, P211B assets

CHARTER DAY. Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia marks the 452nd founding anniversary of the Province with a declaration that Cebu is finally debt free. Garcia made the announcement in a speech at the Capitol Social Hall on Friday, August 6, 2021. / Mary June V. Enriquez

CEBU is now “debt free,” Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia proudly announced as the Province commemorated its 452nd Founding Anniversary on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.

“The Province of Cebu stands debt free, free of any loan or any financial obligation from any financial institution,” Garcia said, explaining that the Provincial Government already settled all its loans after the payment of the P74 million balance it owed the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) last January 2021.

The LBP loan was entered into in 2018 by the administration of then governor Hilario Davide III for the purchase of heavy equipment.

With the Province now free from debt, its assets for the first half of 2021 stood at P211.3 billion while its net income was at P1.5 billion and cash position at P7.2 billion.

“That is why we have taken on the challenge of translating these figures into actual services for the Cebuanos,” Garcia said in a message.

Despite the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Garcia expressed confidence that Cebu will continue to grow its income.

“We expect to double our net income for this year,” she said.

The governor also said funds had been allotted for infrastructure projects as well as health services, social services, and tourism, among others.

Garcia also said a total of 246.81 kilometers of provincial and barangay roads are being constructed, of which 105.11 kilometers have been completed.

Covid response

With the current rise in Covid-19 cases and the reported entry of the Delta strain of the virus in Cebu, Garcia announced that 50-bed medical facilities are being upgraded into 200-bed hospitals.

“I am confident to tell you that in the Province of Cebu right now, our four (4) provincial hospitals and our 12 district hospitals have expanded capacity to accommodate Covid-19 patients. We are shortening the time that it takes to ascertain whether a patient is Covid positive or not,” said Garcia.

Garcia added that more than a thousand medical and non-medical personnel will also be hired to augment the workforce in the medical facilities.

Of the number, 1,079 will be outsourced, while 88 medical specialists and officers will be under a job order arrangement. Around 35 specialists will be under the Physicians Development Program.

Garcia said the Province will continue to implement its Sugbusog and Sugbo Negosyo programs and promote tourism amid the continuing Covid-19 crisis.

Cebu’s Charter Day celebration began with a flag raising ceremony followed by the planting of the Kaningag tree in a vacant lot beside the Provincial Capitol building.

Kaningag, a medicinal tree which is endemic to Cebu, was tagged by the governor as the “One Cebu Island tree” to mark the unity of Cebu officials including those from the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

“What the Province of Cebu is today is a product of a united, concerted and collective effort of so many,” said Garcia.

Garcia also thanked Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino for being a “key factor” in unifying Cebu leaders during the pandemic. / with OPAV PR


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