Samar Board Member Alma Uy-Lampasa
Samar Board Member Alma Uy-Lampasa

CATBALOGAN CITY,  (PNA) — Members of civil society organizations (CSOs) in Samar province launched a two-week signature campaign aimed at blocking the plan of the provincial government to enter into a Php800 million loan with the Landbank of the Philippines.

The Samar provincial government intends to avail of a loan using the internal revenue allotment and provincial government properties as collateral. The loan is payable in 15 years with an annual interest of five percent.

Jun Bardaje, convenor of the signature campaign said that they aim to get 400,000 signatures from more than 600,000 registered voters in 24 Samar towns and two cities within two weeks.

“We already scheduled a daily multi-sectoral meeting in every town for this purpose, to explain why we are conducting this signature campaign,” said Bardaje.

The provincial government said the loan will fund the 10 percent equity or Php100 million to the Php1 billion grant from World Bank for the opening/improvement/ concreting of 89.233 kilometers farm-to-market roads.

Without the counterpart, the World Bank will not approve the Php900 million grant while the national government will divert the fund to other local government units that are willing to provide equity to the project.

These roads are located in villages of impoverished towns of Motiong, Gandara, Pagsanghan, Tarangnan, Villareal, San Sebastian, Paranas, Pinabacdao and Basey.

About Php200 million of the loan will also be used in the construction of the first phase of the new Samar Provincial Hospital. Another Php100 million will be utilized to augment national government funds for infrastructure in conflict areas.

Portion of the loan will fund regular infrastructure project of the provincial government, which include construction of farm-to-market roads located in four villages of Catbalogan City, and in towns of San Jorge and Jiabong.

sharee ann tan-jimboy tan

However, the group downplayed this explanation stressing that this is “only a lip service” from provincial officials.

They also alleged that it’s not clear how the funds will be used. The convenors said that the funds may be used this coming election.

The launching of the signature campaign was attended by Board Member Alma Uy-Lampasa who along with other convenors tore copies of the Borrowing Ordinance that was approved by provincial legislators.

Lampasa is glad that there are now people who are joining her in her cause.

“What they are doing is a meta-legal move that is stronger and has strength than what I’m doing at the council,” said Lampasa.

This is not the first time that a signature campaign was organized in Samar province. Back in 2011, right after the 2010 election, civil society group in Samar organized a signature campaign to unseat Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos and her brother, Vice-Governor Stephen James Tan. (PNA)