Angeles City can pay P600-M loan for COVID-19 vaccines

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ANGELES CITY – Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr.’s Chief Adviser Irish “IC” Calaguas said the Angeles City government has the capacity to service the P600 million loan for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Huwag pong mag-alala ang mga kababayan natin sa pagbabayad ng P600 million na i-lo-loan natin para sa mga COVID-19 vaccines, dahil ang siyudad po ay mayroong net borrowing capacity na P2.9 billion,” said Calaguas in a radio interview.

Calaguas said Angeles residents were asking through the City Information Office (CIO) Facebook page on the capacity of the city government to pay the P600 million loan. 

“The net borrowing capacity of Angeles City is P2.9 billion as certified by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF). Ang ibig pong sabihin, hindi po kailangang magtaas ang siyudad ng pagsisingil sa mga taxes. Kayang-kaya po nating magbayad base sa estado po ng ating finances,” Calaguas further said.

In fact, Calaguas said the requirements for the loan are now ready to be submitted to the financial institutions tomorrow. The City Council is also set to issue the Authority to Loan of Mayor Lazatin.

In a statement over the weekend, Mayor Lazatin said the city government is just putting to good use its net borrowing capacity. 

Calaguas, a long time Lazatin most trusted political officer and currently Clark International Airport Corp. Vice President for Operations, was tapped by Lazatin to represent him in initial talks with identified financial institutions and pharma companies to secure the funding for the vaccines against COVID-19. Some 411,634 residents are expected to be inoculated in the city.

“Simpleng simple lang po ang mindset at direction ni Mayor Pogi Lazatin, iseguro na may perang pambili at may mabibiling vaccine. Kahit ano pang ilatag na plano ng pamahalaang national, handa ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Angeles,” Calaguas said.

Calaguas also revealed that since August 2020, some 20 survey teams have been conducting household surveys to identify the number and age of people per household.

Currently, 25 barangays had been visited by the survey team composed of staff of the Gender and Development Office, Angeles City Tourism Office and Youth and Sports. 

The survey, she explained, is in preparation for the vaccine roll out for all residents. 

“Matagal ng may preparation ang ating siyudad. Matagal na itong pinaghandaan ni Mayor Pogi Lazatin. In the (next) few days, our survey team will be visiting different subdivisions as well and eight more barangays,” she added. 

Although Mayor Lazatin is seeking said loan, Calaguas ensured the basic services of the city government will not suffer.

“Hindi po mag-sa-suffer ang mga basic services natin. Tuloy-tuloy po ang daloy ng serbisyo sa 33 barangays ng siyudad,” Calaguas said.

“Ayon nga po kay Mayor Pogi, kung mayroon man pong isang tinuro itong pandemya – yun ay yung pahalagahan po natin ang kalusugan natin,” she shared. 

Calaguas also shared that one of the main concerns seen by Mayor Lazatin is the acceptability of the COVID-19 vaccines.

This is why the city will strengthen information dissemination, she reiterated. 

“Importante rin po na may direktiba. Naghihintay lang din po tayo ng guidelines mula sa national government. Kapag po sinabi kasi nila na roll-out, lahat po kailangang magpabakuna susunod po ang ating Mayor,” she said.

 In a related development, Lazatin has directed his City Health Officer Dr. Verona Gueverra and Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center Director Froilan Canlas to draft an initial guidelines for the inoculation. 

“This interim guidelines will be adjusted based on the national guidelines. And all other concerns will also be considered like age, health issues of the people before vaccination, schedule of vaccine, order of priority since we heard the vaccine will be delivered in tranches, among others,” Calaguas said

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