CATBALOGAN CITY -- Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan said the P800 million the Provincial Government will borrow from the Land Bank of the Philippines will help address poverty through the implementation of development projects in various parts of the province.

The Provincial Government of Samar is now completing the necessary requirements for the approval of the P800-million loan, which Tan said is payable in 15 years, with five percent interest fixed rate per annum.

She said it is only through such move that the Provincial Government can alleviate the plight of many Samarnons who were deprived for so long of basic infrastructure that can provide them livelihood opportunities.

“It is not just infrastructure but equally important is the infusion of livelihood aspect of the project. The farmers will no longer have any reason that they could not produce more because by that time, farm-to-market roads are already in place,” Tan said.

"We find this a better deal than that of DBP's (Development Bank of the Philippines) offer of 5.5 percent interest," she added.

Part of the amount to be borrowed will be earmarked as the Province’s counterpart in the World Bank-funded Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) amounting to about P1 billion.

The PRDP is a six-year project designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart and market-oriented agri-fishery sector. It will partner with the local government units and the private sector in providing key infrastructure, facilities, technology, and information that will raise income, productivity, and competitiveness in the countryside.

Tan said the loan will be allocated for the 10 percent equity of the Provincial Government in the amount of P100 million to the P1 billion grant from the World Bank for the improvement or concreting of approximately 98.56 kilometers farm-to-market roads.

A slice of the Provincial Government’s loan, which is P300 million, will be allotted for the regular infrastructure project and the construction of farm-to-market roads in four villages of Catbalogan City, and in the towns of San Jorge and Jiabong.

It will also fund the repair and development of other farm-to-market roads in Samar and those leading to various major tourist destinations in the province. These roads are situated in the villages of Basey, Gandara, Pinabacdao, Pagsanghan, Tarangan, Sta. Rita, and Villareal.

"Improving roads to these places is key in upgrading our province to a higher economic status," Tan said.

Also included in the pipeline is P200 million for the construction of the first phase of the new Samar Provincial Hospital. The amount will add to P100 million as augmentation of the National Government funds through the Department of Health (DOH).

"DOH even promised us that if we are able to fund (the P200 million), they will raise their counterpart to P150 million. That's halfway already to the P700 million hospital masterplan DOH has endorsed us," Tan said. (Rowel C. Montes)