Monday, March 29, 2010

Gibo cautions Arroyo on asset sale

by Joyce Pangco Panares

Original Story:

The ruling party’s standard bearer Gilberto “Gibo’’ Teodoro Jr. has urged the Arroyo administration to exercise prudence and leave it to the next president to pursue the sale of state assets valued at P30 billion.

While Teodoro acknowledged that the sale of the assets will help narrow the widening budget deficit which could hit P293 billion this year, he said privatization efforts should be left to the discretion of the next administration to avoid controversy.

“I am not familiar with the assets, but for me, prudence is the order of the day. Be prudent and exercise utmost conservative judgment,” said Teodoro of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

The Harvard-educated lawyer and 1995 Bar topnotcher said it might “not be a wise move” to push through with the sale with barely three months left for the Arroyo administration.

The government expects at least P30 billion in additional revenues with the planned sale of state assets and the lease of the Fujimi property in Tokyo within the first semester of the year.

Up for disposal under the privatization program are the 102-hectare Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig and at least 60 percent of government shares in the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp.

Proceeds from the privatization of the state assets are expected to offset this year’s budget deficit, which the Development Budget Coordinating Committee placed P293 billion, up from an original ceiling of P233.4 billion. That is based on such assumptions as the delay in the sale of state assets.

The government hopes to raise at least P15 billion from the sale of its 60-percent stake in PNOC-EC, P13 billion from FTI and P6 billion from the lease of the 4,361-square meter Fujimi property in Tokyo.

The Fujimi property, located in upscale Fujimi Cho, Chiyoda-Ku, is currently the Philippine ambassador’s residence in the Japanese capital.

The government plans to tear down the structure for a 21-storey building, the penthouse of which will serve as the ambassador’s residence.

“The sale of these assets must be left to the next administration, so I counsel prudence,” Teodoro said.

Teodoro downplayed the defection of former Ilocos Gov. Chavit Singson to rival camp. “Manong Chavit in Ilocos Sur, if ever, is a big loss. However, I will always rely on my personal relationship with the Ilocano people,” said Teodoro, who is the only Ilocano-speaking presidential aspirant.

Singson, the provincial chairman of Lakas-Kampi CMD’s Ilocos Sur chapter, recently declared support for Senator Manuel Villar Jr. because majority of the local leaders allied with him wanted to support the Nacionalista Party standard bearer.

Original Story:

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