MANILA -- San Juan mayoral candidate Francis Zamora said Thursday that if elected, he would appeal to banks to "restructure" some P1.2 billion in debt to give the city financial "breathing room."
The debts were incurred under the leadership of Mayor Guia Gomez when her administration borrowed P700 million in 2012 and another P500 million in 2017, Zamora who was San Juan vice mayor from 2010 to 2016, told ANC's Headstart.
"I plan to restructure the loan. If I become mayor, I can go back to these banks and say, 'There is a new leadership in San Juan. We want to restructure the loans signed by the current administration,'" the former vice mayor said.
"It's worth a try. That will give us a lot of breathing room," he said.
The P700 million was used to build the San Juan City Hall, while P500 million was spent on for the reconstruction of the San Juan Medical Center, Zamora said.
"Sa Tagalog, baon kami sa utang. P1.2 billion ang utang ng San Juan at baon na baon kami ngayon," he said.
(We are buried in debt. San Juan owes P1.2 billion and we are buried in debt.)
Real property taxes were raised to source more funds to pay off the loans, but a new leadership may be able to "restructure" the terms of the loans, he said.
Zamora is running for San Juan mayor against Janella Estrada, the 29-year-old daughter of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
Zamora is a former ally of the Ejercito-Estrada dynasty in San Juan until 2015 when he and his father, San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, were allegedly dropped from the United Nationalist Alliance in favor of other scions of former President Joseph Estrada, who is now reelectionist mayor of the city of Manila.