The central bank reviewed P25.1 billion worth of proposed loans by local government units (LGUs) in the first six months of 2020, most of which are infrastructure projects across the country.

In a statement, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said only 78 projects worth P22.3 billion were rendered with an Monetary Board opinion. All LGUs are required to get the Monetary Board’s opinion on domestic borrowing plans.

The number of requests for MB’s review of proposed LGU borrowings climbed by 31% to 93 from the 69 in the second half of 2020.

“The processing of the remaining 15 requests were deferred due to incomplete documents or information submitted,” the BSP said.

Across regions, LGU units from Metro Manila had the biggest loan amount submitted for review at P5.5 billion.

In the city of Manila, proposed projects amounting to P5 billion include Manila Zoo’s redevelopment; housing resettlements; and the construction of a new 10-storey Bagong Ospital ng Maynila and its parking building.

The second largest review request came from Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) where proposed projects submitted for MB opinion reached P3.246 billion. These proposals include construction projects of a hospital, transport terminals, and road openings, among others.

Meanwhile, LGU units from Region XII or SOCCSKSARGEN submitted the third highest cumulative loan proposals worth P2.204 billion. Among projects proposed include construction of hospitals and public markets, acquisition of heavy equipment, and installation of a solar panel system.

Under Republic Act No. 11211 or the New Central Bank Act, proposed borrowings by government entities and LGUs need prior opinion from the MB, underscoring the BSP’s role as the government’s advisor on official credit operation. — Luz Wendy T. Noble