Laguna reeling from P2-B debt, says new governor | Inquirer News

Laguna reeling from P2-B debt, says new governor

/ 07:00 AM September 09, 2014


STA. CRUZ, Laguna—An internal investigation by the Commission on Audit is underway as Laguna province reels from P2 billion worth of debt, newly appointed Laguna Gov. Ramil Hernandez said on his 100th day in office.

Hernandez, in his first State of the Province Address, said his administration inherited a total debt of P2 billion from the previous term, although he did not elaborate the government projects to which the funds were allotted.


“We are having it investigated to make sure that [the government transactions by the previous administration] went through the right processes and that there were no anomalies,” Hernandez said in an interview on Monday.


Hernandez, who was elected vice governor in 2013, replaced Jeorge “ER” Ejercito in May after the Commission on Elections ordered him relieved on charges of overspending during the 2013 elections.

Ejercito has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

In his speech, Hernandez said the province used to spend P254 million annually for the purchase of medicines and hospital supplies alone.

“We have formed an investigating team, led by our provincial legal counsel Rodel T. Paderayon, to conduct a thorough investigation of the overpriced purchase of medical supplies and equipment,” Hernandez said.

If this amount could be reduced by at least 10 percent without sacrificing the quality of basic services, the government could save up to P25.4 million a year, he said.

Laguna has nine public hospitals.


Hernandez said he also ordered removed from the roll up to 35 “consultants” and “political appointees” whom the province was paying P10 million annually in salaries.

By doing so, he said, the province could save about P5 million a year.

He said the province would also do away with “extravagant celebrations”  and the sending of “too many delegations”  to various programs outside Laguna. “Because of this, we could save up to P5 million every year,” he said.

Hernandez vowed a more prudent government under his term, realigning the budget to increase allocation for health services in 2015.

The province also proposed additional P60-million budget to increase the number of its student scholars from 6,000 to 10,000 by next year.

He said his administration was met with challenges that include P24.7 million worth of losses in public infrastructure and P213 million worth of losses in agriculture due to Typhoon “Glenda” last July.

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The coconut industry in Laguna also suffered P63.95 million worth of losses due to the “cocolisap” infestation, he said.

TAGS: debut, Laguna

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