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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Fund-raising move
ridiculous, VG says



That is what Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. said yesterday about the act of raising funds from government officials and private persons to build the six replacement classrooms at the Negros Occidental High School in Bacolod City.

He said the provincial government has adequate resources to address the P10 million needed without having to resort to that.

Alvarez said the majority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members are only against availing of a loan, but are not against the building of the classrooms using Capitol funds.

But Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday reiterated that the denial by the SP of his request to avail of the P10 million loan was politically motivated. The board members associated with Alvarez voted against the P10 million loan, while those aligned with Marañon voted for it.

Marañon and Alvarez are both running for governor of Negros Occidental in 2013.

If there was no politics involved, they would have approved the loan for the classrooms already, Marañon said.

They had okayed it in principle, but I did not ask them to sign because I thought they had words of honor, he added.

The six classrooms are being sought as replacements for those demolished by the provincial government to give way for a two-storey 24-classroom building it is constructing for NOHS. The construction of the classrooms is in compliance with a commitment of the provincial government to the Department of Education, in exchange for the Paglaum Sports Complex that it took back after donating it to the DepEd in 1996.

The alumni of NOHS have began a signature campaign asking that projects of their schools not be subjected to politics. Education should be spared from politics, the alumni said.

About 2,600 NOHS faculty, alumni, students and their parents held a prayer and candle-lighting activity in front of the Capitol Monday night to thank Marañon for raising the funds needed for the six classrooms.

Alvarez called the move an overreaction, as the SP only denied availing of a P10 million loan, but not the classrooms.

Marañon said the SP act has delayed the immediate construction of the much-needed classrooms at the NOHS, where students are exposed to the heat and the rain as they are holding classes in shed houses.

The governor said P1.1 million has so far been raised for the six replacement classrooms, and he signed the program of works yesterday so construction can begin immediately.

He said the P1.1 million comes from the Special Project Allocation of Board Member Melvin Ibañez of P500,000 and P100,000 each from Board Members Miller Serondo, Nehemias de la Cruz, Salvador Escalante, and Jose Benito Alonso; and P209,800 from his and 17 department head’s Representation and Travelling Allowances.

The NOHS alumni have also signified their intention to contribute, while the students may also start a fund drive, he added.

Alvarez said the provincial government has adequate funds from its savings and from its 2013 budget to raise the P10 million without having to resort to individual fundraising.

He noted that the P3.8 million for the recent organic festival was taken from the savings of the provincial government.

“I am sure the province has savings and by January, there will be P50 million allocated for the special education fund that can be tapped,” Alvarez said.

The SP does not want the provincial government to make any more loans that have already reached P1.5 billion and is about 80 to 85 percent of the annual income of the province, he added.

If we continue, the provincial government’s outstanding loans will be more than its annual income, Alvarez said.*CPG

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