by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) prompted the city government of San Fernando, La Union to collect on its overdue loans, some dating back to 2012.
In October 2007, then-mayor Pablo Ortega entered into an agreement with 86 fishermen from barangays Ilocanos Norte, Ilocanos Sur, Catbangen and Poro regarding a 5,000 square meter parcel of land.
As part of the city government’s housing mandate, the newly established Fishermen’s Village will serve as its core housing project.
However, according to the 2018 annual audit report, a lack of monitoring has produced a significant number of non-paying homeowners.
Of the 86 beneficiaries, 51 percent or 44 have reportedly stopped paying their monthly dues for the past six years, with only three making payments since 2015. As a result, the city government has P4.42 million in monthly payments already due and demandable.
In 2016, a committee was established due to the change in administration, but was not effective, at least according to state auditors.
“[I]t was revealed that the Committee had not been able to convene to discuss important matters regarding the program, and therefore not made aware of the current situation pertaining to the defaulted payments of almost 97% of the beneficiaries,” COA said.
According to San Fernando officials, it has acknowledged the observation of the state auditors, promising to convene the committee to discuss the situation.
In addition, plans of debt restructuring are considered in order to lighten the potential burden on the payors.