DAGUPAN CITY – The Sangguniang Panlungsod, in a special session on Thursday (November 9), has authorized Mayor Belen T. Fernandez to negotiate and enter into a term loan facility with a reputable banking institution to finance the construction of a new city hall at the proposed government center in Barangay Pantal with an aggregate amount not to exceed P590 million provided the specified parameters are complied with.


At least  P570 million has been earmarked for the construction of the new city hall building that shall accommodate most, if not all, local government offices; the development of its interior and exterior premises; purchase of equipment, air conditioning units; and furniture and facilities required for the center’s daily operations; while another P20 million has been earmarked for the installation of an E-Governance System, which will modernize the operation of the city, for a total of P590 million.


The authority embodied in Resolution 5580 was unanimously approved by all the councilors present in the special session which was presided by Majority Floor Leader Maybelyn Rose Dela Cruz-Fernandez.


The councilors who voted unanimously in support to the resolution were Councilors Jeslito Seen – author, Jose Netu M. Tamayo, Alvin T. Coquia, Luis m. Samson Jr., Dennis C. Canto, Nicanor D. Aquino, Marvin V. Fabia, Guillermo P. Vallejos and Marcelino DS. Fernandez.


City Administrator Farah Marie G. Decano along with City Budget Officer Luz De Guzman assured the council that the city has the capacity to pay the monthly amortization considering that the city has a Borrowing Capacity of P886,707,000.00 and a Net Debt Service Ceiling of P127,547,000.00 as certified by the Bureau of Local Government Finance.


The city at present is paying an obligation with a reputable bank in the amount of P45 million when the city secured a loan for the construction of the Malimgas Market. The city’s current debt servicing will end on the first quarter of 2019.


Even with this obligation, De Guzman certified that even with the new loan, which will be used for the construction of the new city hall, the city government can meet its debt obligations without jeopardizing the operation and services rendered by the city including the salary standardization of city hall employees.


She also debunked allegations of possible increase in Real Property Tax, saying that the city just recently approved its revised RPT and will take the city another after five years to revise it as provided by law.


If the amount be granted by the bank, the construction of the new city hall – as mandated by Republic Act 9134 – will undergo two bidding processes.


The bidding will be done for the design of the city hall and another one for the construction of the building.


City Engineer Virginia V. Rosario disclosed before the council that the new building will be a four storey building with the first floor having a land area of 4,500 square meters, the second and third floors are both 3,500 square meters each and the fourth floor will be at least 1,500 square meters. The building is earthquake proof.


Among the parameters imposed in the resolution are that the loan amount is within the Borrowing Capacity and Net Debt Service Ceiling of the city as certified to by the Bureau of Local Government and Finance; the loan amount shall be payable within a period not longer than 15 years; the interest rate imposed is fair and reasonable; and that the terms of the loan is advantageous to the city government. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Nov. 19, 2017)