CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama wants to go to Japan and meet with the officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to discuss matters regarding the 300-hectare South Road Properties (SRP).
In his regular news conference yesterday, Rama said he wants to report to the Jica officials the status of the City Government’s SRP loan.
Rama lamented that since the City started paying the loan in 2001, the City still has a balance of P3 billion.
“I don’t know if they’re aware of what happened to the SRP lately. Ang utang started at P3 billion unya nagsugod bayad 2001. Unya karon 2014, P3 billion lang gihapon atong utang. I want that reported to Jica so they would know,” he said.
“The SRP loan, I believe, it was not a loan to oppress the local government unit (LGU). It was a loan to bring better future for the LGU. And it was not a loan, I am pretty sure, that general funds will be used depriving basic services. I need to report that to them,” he added.
Jica, formerly known as Japan Bank for International Cooperation, lent the City 12.315 billion yen (P5.3 billion based on yesterday’s exchange rate of P0.43 to one yen) in 1995 to implement the South Reclamation Project, which is now the SRP. The loan is payable in 30 years, ending in 2025.
An additional 1.28 billion yen loan was made to pay for the accrued interest of the first loan during the construction period.
Every year, the City sets aside P200 million to P300 million to pay the principal amount of the SRP loan, P150 million to more than P200 million for the interest, and P30 million to P40 million for the guarantee fee which is paid to the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Rama also said he wants to discuss with Jica officials his plan to buy out the loan from the SRP through another loan so the City will be paying lesser interest compared to the current interest of 11 percent.
Asked when will he be going to Japan, Rama said he has no schedule yet but added that he will have it soon.