DOF keeps hands off GSIS-PPA dispute over Port Area lot
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) is leaving it to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to clear up the dispute between the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) over a 781,857 square meter property in Port Area, Manila, a senior official of the DOF said.

In an interview, Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, who also serves as an alternate member of the PPA board of directors, said there is a need for the GSIS and the PPA to settle the issue over the ownership of two lots in Port Area, Manila, which the former is planning to sell within the year. 

“It’s something that needs to be cleared,” she said.

However, asked what is the DOF’s stance on the issue, Tionko said the matter should be more of the DOTr’s concern than the finance department.

“I think it’s a matter for DOTr, not us,” she said.

Moreover, the official clarified that International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) does not need to pay any rental fees as it is operating in the questioned property under a concession agreement with the PPA.

“It’s not rental. It’s just a concession. I don’t know why will they pay. Did they give a concession? It’s a concession to operate,” she said.

Earlier, GSIS President and general manager Jesus Clint Aranas said the state pension fund has revived its plan to dispose off the big-ticket asset.

Aranas described the Port Area property as a non-performing asset as the state fund is not generating any income from it.

He said a part of the asset is being occupied by ICTSI under an agreement with the PPA, which does not have any permission from the GSIS.

The GSIS chief said the state fund is also eyeing to collect the rental arrearrages incurred, which is estimated at around P80 million a month or less than P1 billion a year since the property was occupied in early 1970s.

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