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GSIS drops FTI bid

[ ] May 27, 2009


State pension fund Government Service Insurance (GSIS) has lost interest in acquiring the Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) property in Taguig City.

Estrella Elamparo, GSIS chief legal counsel, said the state pension fund is no longer interested in acquiring the FTI Complex, which government has been trying to privatize since last year.

"We don’t know know if it (bidding for FTI) will materialize at all. It’s not anymore in our list of priorities," Elamparo said in an interview.

The GSIS chief counsel said the subject is no longer in the agenda during meetings or discussions with general manager and president Winston Garcia.

Elamparo said Garcia could have lost interest in purchasing the FTI property because he’s already on the way out since his term is co-terminus with President Arroyo.

"It’s not being mentioned anymore (during discussions of projects)," she said.

GSIS has expressed serious interest in acquiring the 120-hectare FTI property in Taguig City since last year because of its lease and land development potentials.

Garcia earlier offered to acquire the property for P6 billion to P7 billion. The Department of Finance has put a P10 billion rice tag on the property.

Garcia has said the GSIS could earn billions in lease rental or by collaborating with a land developer to transform the FTI property into mixed-used commercial and residential areas.

He even planned to construct a flyover that would directly open up FTI to the C-5 road to make it more accessible.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves had said they welcomed the interest shown by GSIS but expressed preference to make the sale to a private company instead of a government-owned entity.

With GSIS opting out, only Ayala Land is in the running to grab the FTI property.

FTI is under the National Food Authority (NFA) of the agriculture department and is among the properties lined-up for privatization this year to shore up revenues of government and help plug the budget deficit.

Aside from FTI, government also plans to sell its stake in state-owned Philippine National Oil Corp-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) for P11 billion and lease out its Fujimi property in Japan, where the Philippine embassy holds offices.

Government has put a combined price tag to the three prime properties at P30 billion.

From an early privatization schedule, the timetable has been pushed back to late second semester of the year as government waits out the impact of the global financial crisis.


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