Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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Public spending a key stimulus for local economic recovery

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Government spending on building roads and bridges amounting to millions of pesos is a key component of City Hall’s economic recovery program after business went on a slump this year amid the COVID pandemic.

Businessman George Zulueta, executive assistant to the mayor here, told DNX this includes four flagship projects to be funded by a P1.7 billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines, some of which have sparked controversies over questions on spending priorities.

Zulueta said these construction projects are expected to result to at least 6,000 jobs for residents over a minimum period of three years.

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This is projected to lead to P2.4 million in wages alone for local workers if computed at the maximum standard wage of P400 a day in Western Visayas.

Zulueta, who is also vice chairman of the City Planning and Development Board and executive director of the Local Investment Board, said among the projects that have either been completed or ongoing include the replacement and widening of the P70 million Magsungay Bridge at Lacson extension that was opened December, last year.

Another is the construction of the road to Vista Alegre via Mansilingan and the road leading to Handumanan village.

These will be funded through the P2.6 billion 2021 budget.

The other flagship projects are the P800 million Bacolod MassKara Coliseum, the P200 million roads and bridges construction, the P350 million Progreso Village relocation site development, the P350 million site and facilities development of the Bacolod City College, and the P200 million construction of bridges and roads.

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The 2021 distribution shows maintenance and other operating expenditures cornering almost half of the P2.6 billion budget at 48 percent or P1.25 billion, from which the budget for some of the projects will be drawn, Zulueta added.

Zulueta also pointed out that the local government does not provide loans for local businesses but City Hall has

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Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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