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GSIS rebuffed anew on FTI


BY DENNIS GADIL

[ Malaya.com.ph ] March 1, 2010

The Department of Finance (DOF) has rejected the latest offer of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to acquire the Food Terminal Inc (FTI) property for P7 billion, way below its original asking price of P13 billion.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said the Privatization Management Office (PMO) deemed the GSIS offer as "relatively low."

Teves said he has directed the PMO to formally respond to GSIS and "look for a better price."

The revived offer of GSIS was lower than the latest government asking price of P9 billion to P10 billion.

Teves said the PMO will proceed with its negotiations with two remaining interested bidders after perceived front-runner giant property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) backed out.

Winston Garcia, GSIS president and general manager, earlier threatened to sue DOF and PMO for not acting on the offer while holding negotiations with private groups.

Garcia described the "snub" as a discourtesy to a fellow government agency.

GSIS was among the first to show interest in the property but lost interest toward the middle of last year.

It revived its interest late last year by submitting the P7 billion offer, P1 billion more than its 2007-2008 offer of P6 billion when the DOF was asking for P15 billion.

Teves has repeatedly said government prefers to sell to a private group.

Government set a floor price of P13 billion at the bidding for the property last year which ended up a failure.

Market watchers said the bidding failed because property developers wanted the government to lower the price to below P10 billion, branding the P13 billion floor price as too high.

The government earlier said the P13 billion floor price was reasonable because based on the last valuation of the property, FTI was worth roughly P15 billion.

Aside from GSIS and ALI, Gokongweis’ Robinson’s Land Corp. and Century Properties have also expressed interest in the property.

The government is eyeing the first semester sale of the FTI property along with two other state assets, the Fujimi property in Tokyo and the 60 percent stake in PNOC-EC, to meet its privatization goal of P30 billion.

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[ Cebu ] Developer improves business park


Sunday, February 28, 2010 [ sunstar.com.ph ]

By Katlene O. Cacho

A CEBU-based property development and leasing company will build another facility in its business park to further attract potential tenants and markets.

“The move of enhancing the Oakridge Business Park by putting up a commercial building will further strengthen the business operation as this will cater to the business tenants and to the public as well,” said Edmun Liu, chief executive officer of Oakridge Realty Development Corporation during the groundbreaking ceremony held last Friday.

The Oak Tree Drive, is a commercial facility that has 628 square-meter leasable space. Liu said the facility can house three tenants. The company, he added, is currently on negotiations with certain outlets and chains that have shown interest in renting the commercial space.

Oakridge Realty Development Corp. is the developer of Oakridge Business Park, a three-hectare property located on A.S. Fortuna Street in Banilad.

Aside from putting up a facility, Liu said they will also widen and enhance the entrance of the business park with a “green theme” to make it more attractive to potential tenants.

Oakridge Business has a total leasable area of 18,000 square meters with already 90 percent occupancy.

“We are also in the preliminary stages of negotiations of potential tenants who wish to occupy the remaining spaces of the building,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 1, 2010.

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[ Cagayan de Oro ] Landless farmers get land

Sunday, February 28, 2010

MARAMAG, Bukidnon -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) finally approved farmers’ application for a Community-Based Forest Management Agreement (CBFMA).

The Baclig Farmworkers Association Inc. (Bacfa) has been awarded a CBFMA on a 130-hectare land located at Barangay Panalsalan here.

In a January 26 letter, former acting secretary Eleazar Quinto wrote to DENR-Northern Mindanao Executive Director Maximo Dichoso of the approval of Bacfa’s CBFMA.

In the letter, Quinto instructed Dichoso “to assist and monitor the compliance of Bacfa of the CBFMA and submit to the DENR Central Office updated report.”

Jeana B. Subalan, Bacfa president, welcomed the news.

“(We are glad that our application was finally approved since we have long wished to take care of the land of our ancestors,” Subalan said.

The land was previously under a Forest Land Grazing Lease Agreement (FLGLA) with the DENR.

In 2008, former DENR secretary Joselito A. Atienza cancelled the FLGLA upon discovering violations made by the previous landowner, Mr. Allan Uy, which exceeded the maximum limit allowed for food production area within the arable portion of the ranch. A big portion of the land has been converted into a pineapple plantation.

In the same year, Bacfa, whose members include Talaandig indigenous peoples living in the area, applied for CBFMA as they started to occupy and plant the remaining undeveloped ranch area found suitable to be disposed through the CBFM program.

The CBFMA is a tenurial instrument that allows upland forest communities to become the “de facto” managers of their land by allowing them to develop, utilize and conserve specific portions of the forest lands within a 25-year production sharing agreement with the DENR.

For Subalan, who is a Talaandig herself, this development was long overdue.

“We have lived here ever since; this is the land of my father and my great grandparents. We have a right to this land,” she said.

Bacfa joins the growing number of CBFM holders in the province. But despite this, there is still much to be done.

Task Force Mapalad-Mindanao estimates that there are still 7,580 hectares of land pending for distribution among 2,551 farmer-beneficiaries, most of whom belong to Bukidnon indigenous tribes.

Data from the DENR, meanwhile, shows that while Bukidnon has a total forest land area of 669,576 hectares, which is divided into 187,548 hectares of production forest and 481,978 hectares of protection forest, only 15 percent or 26,977.9 hectares of the total production forest has CBFM application.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 28, 2010.

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High court upholds Ombudsman’s ruling vs GenSan deeds execs


By Benjamin B. Pulta

02/28/2010 [ tribune.net.ph ]

The Supreme Court (SC) has issued out a ruling declaring the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao’s order faulting the Gen. Santos City Register of Deeds officer for neglect of duty for allegedly failing to act upon a reported irregularity and imposing a one-month suspension without pay on her is final and executory.

In its decision, the SC First Division granted the petition for review on certiorari filed by the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao faulting Register of Deeds Asteria Cruzabra, and reversed and set aside the Dec. 14, 2007 and June 17, 2008 resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA).

In a six-page decision by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, the SC First Division said: “In the present case, petitioner Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao’s order of May 18, 2004 finding respondent administratively liable for neglect of duty, which ‘implies the failure to give proper attention to a task expected of an employee arising from either carelessness or indifference,’ was adequately established by substantial evidence.”

The decision was concurred in by Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chairman of the SC First Division; and members, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo de-Castro, Lucas Bersamin and Martin Villarama Jr.

Records showed that Anwar Mohamad Abdurasak and Jovina Tama Mohamad Abdurasak, via a petition filed before the Office of the Register of Deeds of Gen. Santos City, sought the inclusion of the name “Ali Mohamad Abdurasak” in Transfer Certificates of Titles Nos. T-89456 and T-89458.

Without authority from the Cruzabra, land registration examiner Bienvenido Managuit acted on the petition by instructing the office clerk to type the name “Ali Mohamad Abdurasak” on the face of the titles.

Due to the unauthorized intercalation, Datu Sarip Andang filed a criminal case before the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao against Cruzabra, as the city’s register of deeds, for falsification of public documents and usurpation of official functions.

In her counter-affidavit, Cruzabra alleged that, “inter alia, the intercalation was made without her authority and it occurred outside her cubicle; that upon learning about it, she did not correct the same for to do so would subject her or the author thereof to a charge of falsification of public documents; and that the proper parties to question the intercalation are those whose interests on the titles were prejudiced thereby.”

Ombudsman Prosecutor Liza Tan found no probable cause to charge Cruzabra with usurpation of official functions and accordingly ordered the withdrawal of the information for falsification of public documents which apparently had been filed earlier.

But on Tan’s recommendation, an administrative case for simple misconduct was filed against Cruzabra.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao, through Deputy Ombudsman Antonio Valenzuela’s order dated May 18, 2004, found Cruzabra liable for neglect of duty and accordingly imposed on her the penalty of suspension for one month without pay, pursuant to Section 46, Book 5, Title 1 of Executive Order 292 (the Administrative Code of 1987).

On Cruzabra’s appeal, the CA, however, issued out a ruling on Dec. 14, 2007, finding no basis for the charge of her being negligent and reversed the Ombudsman’s ruling.

The CA, though, admonished her.

After the motion for reconsideration was denied by the appelate court, the Ombudsman-Mindanao filed a petition for review on certiorari.

The SC granted the petition and declared, “At all events, the May 18, 2004 order of petitioner which imposed upon respondent the penalty of suspension for one month without pay for neglect of duty is final, executory and unappealable pursuant to Section 27 of Republic Act 6770.

RA 6770 states that “findings of facts by the Office of the Ombudsman, when supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive. Any order, directive or decision imposing the penalty of public censure or reprimand, suspension of not more than one month’s salary shall be final and unappealable.”

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