LAND BANK of the Philippines (LANDBANK) lent the local government of Sorsogon P94.5 million to construct the first state-owned oxygen-producing plant in the province. 

LANDBANK said in a press release on Sunday that the loan will be used to buy and install an oxygen-generating facility at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital to boost the supply of medical oxygen of all nine public hospitals in the province. 

The oxygen plant is targeted for completion in early 2022 as part of the local government’s response to the country’s worsening coronavirus outbreak and the rising demand for oxygen as infections continue to spike. 

The lender said costs for oxygen tank refilling will also be cheaper at P157 per tank from P490 each currently once the facility is finished as it will provide additional oxygen supply for the province that has been relying on just one supplier in Camarines Sur. 

More than 800,000 residents of Sorsogon, as well as those residing in its neighboring provinces, are expected to benefit from the project, the bank said. 

The arrangement of the loan agreement was led by Sorsogon Governor Francis Joseph G. Escudero. 

“LANDBANK remains committed to serving the nation at the frontlines of our battle against the pandemic. Alongside our LGU partners, we stand ready to service growth and recovery requirements, which include boosting local healthcare services and providing support to medical frontliners and their constituents,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying. 

Last year, the state-run bank put up a P20-billion lending facility for local government units (LGUs) to help finance their pandemic response programs and projects. 

It also provides a P1-billion interest subsidy for new and existing loans of LGUs as authorized by Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan II. 

LANDBANK’s net income went up by 1.67% to P5.48 billion in the first quarter, keeping it on track to hit its P19.68-billion target for the year. — BML