By Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) Updated August 31, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala-controlled Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), one of the country’s biggest lenders, has voluntarily turned over 475 hectares of foreclosed properties worth about P242 million to the government.
The foreclosed properties are agricultural lands that were acquired by BPI for various reasons, including the inability of the property owners to pay back their loans.
These properties were turned over to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Alfonso Salcedo, president of thrift bank unit BPI Family Savings Bank, said another set of properties, totaling around 500 hectares, is now being inventoried and would also be turned over to the government.
He said the offer “is a fulfillment of a promise that signifies BPI’s single-minded attention to help contribute to the government’s agrarian reform program.”
Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, for his part, urged other financial institutions to take the same route on their foreclosed agricultural properties.
BPI had earlier turned over 749 hectares, bringing to 1,224 hectares the total number of agricultural land it has transferred to the DAR this year for distribution to landless farmers under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
The properties turned over to DAR included 167.33 hectares in Southern Tagalog, 144 hectares in Western Visayas, 82.53 hectares in Northern Mindanao, 51.61 hectares in Central Mindanao, 40 hectares in Central Luzon, 27 hectares in Ilocos region and 14 hectares in Cagayan Valley.