Vice-gov bet: Pangasinan not bankrupt
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (15 January) -- A candidate for vice-governor dismissed yesterday allegations that the provincial government already got bankrupt and unable to pay its obligations.
Mapandan town Mayor Ferdinand Calimlim, who is running under the administration ticket of re-electionist Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. said that while the province indeed has an existing bank loan, it does not already mean that it has gone bankrupt.
Guesting at the KBP Forum Thursday at the Philippine Information Agency, Calimlim said there never was "overextension" of the loan that would make it very difficult for the province to repay its obligation and render basic services at the same time. "Walang katotohanan yan, Totoo may utang ang probinsya pero hindi ibig sabihin nyan na na-bankrupt na," he clarified.
He added that the Department of Finance will never allow such overextension since the extent of the loan depends on the capability of the borrower to return it.
He said he did not think that officials of the province with their "sound minds" would allow such bankruptcy to set in.
A meadiaman who was said to be close to Urduja House was overheard by his colleagues in a social function as saying that the province no longer had enough money to pay its obligations because of huge expenditures.
The provincial government was seeking a loan of some P700 million with the Land Bank of the Philippines to finance its various programs and projects. The previous administration earlier obtained a loan of P300 million which is being repaid until now.
Obtaining a bank loan, he explained, was necessary to finance big projects. He compared the situation to a businessman who seeks a loan for the immediate expansion of his business which he cannot otherwise do if he would just wait for the time until he would have saved enough.
Citing his own experience, he said his town sought a loan to fund the construction of a new market building to replace the old building which he described as fire hazard. "Ngayon dumami ang stallholders from 100 to 250 at lumaki ang aming income, dati fifth class kami ngayon third class na," he said.
Calimlim, who is now on his third and last term, said that the Espino administration is laying the groundwork for the coming of investors. "The governor is thinking big, eh malaki rin ang ating probinsya," he said as he noted the big time projects being put in place in order to attract investors like airport, seaport and even economic zone.
He said that once big investments, industries and businesses are around, the province will not rely solely on its internal revenue allotment to fund its projects and services, or even think of raising taxes to obtain more revenues.
Saying he saw himself in Espino because of their hands-on style of management as well as being a team player, Calimlim said he can readily work with the governor for the realization of their dreams for the province.
Admitting that he has a lot to do catching up with his opponent, he said he believed the voters now are looking for "new blood" in leaders who display dynamism, innovation and youth.
Calimlim is facing former Vice-Gov. Oscar B. Lambino who held the position for three terms. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]