Port Area lot sale still on the table — GSIS
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said yesterday it remains keen on selling a big-ticket asset in Port Area, Manila, despite questions on the nature of the title it is holding.

In a statement, GSIS president and general manager Jesus Clint Aranas reiterated the state fund’s plan to auction off its 672,645-square meter property at the Manila North Harbor, which is currently being occupied by the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).

 “As a government entity that exists to ensure the integrity of the funds of its members, GSIS is determined to sell it through public bidding upon the approval of the board,” Aranas said.

Aranas disputed the claim of ICTSI president and chairman Enrique Razon that GSIS only has a “naked title” of the property, which means it has no right to use the land.

 “That does not preclude GSIS from disposing of the property,” Aranas said.

The GSIS has revived the plan to sell its big ticket asset in Port Area, Manila, after the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) came out with the updated zonal value for the property.

Based on the BIR’s latest assessment as of May 9, the market value of the property is approximately P33.632 billion. This is higher than the previous minimum bid price set by the GSIS amounting to P19.91 billion.

Aside from selling the land, Aranas said the GSIS is also eyeing to collect the rental arrearrages incurred during the years the property was used by the port operator.

Aranas said GSIS has invited ICTSI to discuss the use and rental of the disputed property, but the company referred the pension fund’s letter to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), saying “it may not be useful to sit down with GSIS without the participation of PPA.”

Meanwhile, the GSIS has once again called on the PPA to rescind, modify or revise a memorandum of understanding (MOU) it signed with the National Housing Authority (NHA), Manila government, ICTSI, and Manila North Harbor Port Inc., which commits to donate a five-hectare land for resettlement purposes.

According to GSIS, the ocular inspection report of NHA revealed that the proposed relocation site infringes on a 1.2-hectare GSIS property occupied by informal settlers and allocated for socialized housing pursuant to Executive Order 108, Series of 2002.

GSIS said it was never consulted and neither did it approve or consent to such donation or commitment on the overlapping portion.

The state fund said PPA, in response to GSIS’ appeal, did not address the GSIS’ demand but instead questioned the validity of the GSIS’ title.

Aranas, however, said the validity of the title may only be questioned in a direct attack filed before a regular, based on a ruling by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel in 2015.

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