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BCDA awaits Palace okay on sale of prime properties

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) Updated May 03, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - State-run Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) said it is awaiting Malacañang’s approval of its plan to dispose prime properties.

The sale of idle state assets in the sprawling Fort Bonifacio complex in Taguig will generate as much as P40 billion in revenues for the government, its top executive said.

“We are still waiting for the approval of the President on our disposition plans,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.

“We have met with the Executive Secretary already and with the Department of Finance representative so we expect the asset disposition plan to be approved within the month,” he added.

BCDA plans to sell the 33.1-hectare military lot in South Bonifacio and another 25-hectare lot also in Taguig.

Casanova said the proposal sent to Malacañang lists all the properties the agency wants to develop or sell.

“For Fort Bonifacio, we are hoping to dispose the property. We could expect about P35 billion to P40 billion,” Casanova said.

In 2010, SM Land Inc., which handles the SM Group’s commercial property development, submitted a P47.9-billion unsolicited offer to develop the 33.1-hectare military lot.

But the potential Swiss challenge did not push through as the offer underwent reviews by the new administration.

“We have submitted our recommendation to the President and it is one of those issues we submitted to him,” Casanova said, refusing to give more details on the asset sale.

But he said the goal is for the government to receive the best value for the land.

“The general policy really is competitive bidding because the assumption is the interplay of market forces would create the best value for the property,” he said.

The South Bonifacio property consists of lands partly occupied by the Army Support Command and Special Services Unit of the Philippine Army, and the Bonifacio Naval Station and Philippine Marine Corps of the Philippine Navy.

Casanova said they are also looking at some strategic landbanking, which involves prime lots being offered for leasing.

Meanwhile, he said idle assets also in economic zones like in Clark Field in Pampanga are not for sale but are open for lease and development deals.

Other assets of BCDA include the Clark Ecozone, Poro Point, John Hay Special Economic Zone and the Bataan Technopark.

The approval of the asset disposal plan will allow BCDA to top its performance last year.

Casanova said the agency was not able to sell any land last year.

Last year, BCDA signed a deal allowing the Metro Pacific-led Manila North Tollways Corp. to manage and operate the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway for 33 years.

“Now we want to dispose major properties in the area to capitalize on the confidence of the market,” Casanova said.

Following the financial crisis, property developers have been launching projects at a brisk pace to take advantage of robust demand from the residential, office and retail sectors.

Casanova said higher investor confidence will benefit the property sector, particularly the office segment, as businesses expand in the country.

BDCA had raised P52.816 billion from the disposal of military camps in 1993 to November 2011, allowing it to remit P33.306 billion to the National Treasury.
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