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Finance not keen on GSIS’ P6-B bid for FTI property

Vol. XXII, No. 120

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

THE FINANCE department prefers that Food Terminal, Inc. (FTI) be placed in the hands of the private sector even as a state-owned pension fund has expressed interest in the Taguig property, which the government wants to sell this year.

"Preference is to the private [sector] and that is why it is a privatization," Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves yesterday said.

But the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which has offered P6 billion for FTI, will still be welcome to join the bidding, which may take place within the first semester.

"If GSIS is in the business of buying property, there is no legal provision [that would bar it from doing so]. What is important is the proceeds and to get the maximum value of asset," Mr. Teves said.

GSIS President Winston F. Garcia was not immediately available for comment.

Mr. Garcia last week said the GSIS was offering P6 billion for FTI, an amount lower than the pension fund’s P7-billion proposal last year. He also said the GSIS was interested in building interchange that would connect FTI to the C-5 highway.

The GSIS, however, has yet to submit a proposal. "[There was] no formal offer [from the GSIS] but the offer was stated in newspapers," Mr. Teves said.

The public bidding process will be followed, he said, but a new appraisal may be needed.

"It is prudent to have another appraisal of the property. We are programming to sell property this year and we will appraise it ... We still have time to plan it and to do it in first semester," he said.

Some P10 billion is expected to be earned from privatizing FTI, which the government has been trying to sell since 1997. — Alexis Douglas M. Romero


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