Home Headlines San Simon mayor rapped for seeking P350-M loan amid Covid-19 pandemic

San Simon mayor rapped for seeking P350-M loan amid Covid-19 pandemic


SAN SIMON, Pampanga – The neophyte mayor of this third-class municipality in the fourth district of this province is now the brunt of ire of his kabalens.

This developed after the mayor flip-flopped on ongoing projects in the town started by his predecessor and his plan to secure a P350-million loan for his various projects.

Upon his assumption into office on July 1, 2019, then newly-elected Mayor Abundio “JP” S. Punsalan, Jr. issued a “cease and desist order” on the ongoing construction of the “New Local Government Hall” in the town’s government center allegedly without prior consultation with the local development council.

The New Local Government Hall was one of the flagship projects of then Mayor Leonora C. Wong, who is now the vice mayor. The P100-million construction of the project was noted to have been at least at 21 percent when the stoppage was ordered.

It was also noted that no loan was secured for the funding of the said project which came from the local collection efforts from 2015-2018.

This feat earned the Seal of Good Local Governance recognition from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the commendation of the Commission on Audit (COA) to “the Local Chief Executive and other municipal officials for being able to meet the target income collections and recommend that they continue with their endeavor in increasing and meeting the annual income targets.”

Meanwhile, Punsalan was also planning to secure a loan of P350 million from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

In his letter to the Bureau of Local Government Finance on March 19, Punsalan said the loan will be used to finance the construction of the public market, hospital facility, potable water distribution facility, municipal park and municipal building.

But the people of this town recalled that Punsalan had said during the election campaign period that they don’t need a new government hall and said he will convert the new government hall into a hospital.

Vice Mayor Wong said if Punsalan is sincere, why is he planning to purchase the parcels of lots surrounding the old municipal hall which are not even contiguous to each other when he has said all along that it would be converted into a hospital.

Local folk said Punsalan won the trust of the Simonians in the 2019 local elections by also campaigning for the implementation of major infrastructure projects but without mentioning any loan.

Now, a P350 million loan is in the offing and Punsalan has announced that the much talked about hospital will now be financed by 4th District Rep. Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc who won by a landslide in the town while the New Municipal Hall will be financed by a businessman named Ben Co.

“And why secure a P350 million loan when he said only P25 million is needed to construct hospital?” the vice mayor asked.

What appears to be really infuriating for the people of this town is the P350-million loan Punsalan is planning to secure in the midst of the raging pandemic.

The vice mayor said it is precisely the reason why she has signified her dissent in the sangguniang bayan resolutions.

Wong said Punsalan’s flip flopping is now subject of an investigation by the Provincial Capitol as well as the mayor’s plan to secure the P350-million loan from the DBP.

Punto! tried but could not contact Punsalan for comment at presstime.


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