By Chino S. Leyco
An official of the state-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said that the agency holds the concession agreement for the operation of port and terminal facilities in Manila, and not the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Finance Undersecretary Antonette C. Tionko, who also sits in the PPA Board, said they have the legal mandate to collect the multi-million pesos concession fee for the 67-hectare real estate in Manila’s port, which is being occupied by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. ( ICTSI).
“It’s a concession,” Tionko told reporters on the sidelines of the joint membership meeting of major business groups led by the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP). “Why would ICTSI pay them [GSIS], did they give the concession? No.”
What PPA collects from ICTSI is a concession fee to operate the port property, and it is not for rental, the finance official said.
Tionko, however, admitted the PPA board has yet to discuss the GSIS claim on businessman Enrique Razon Jr.’s port location.
“I think they’re discussing that because PPA claims and GSIS claims it’s theirs, so it’s something that must be resolved,” Tionko said.
She also said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should take part on the ownership dispute between PPA and GSIS.
On Thursday, ICTSI said that GSIS only holds “a naked title” of the 67-hectare real estate asset, which does not correspond right to use the property.
Earlier, Jesus Clint Aranas, GSIS president and general manager threatened to sell for P37 billion the Port Area property.
“The property is currently occupied by ICTSI. Supposedly, they have an agreement with the PPA, which does not have a title to it,” Aranas said.
“So the awkwardness there is that I am in a situation wherein there is a property owned by GSIS not earning rental income or whatsoever, and no standing agreement whatsoever,” he added.
The GSIS chief also noted that unpaid rentals for the property hit close to P1 billion a year.
He also said the pension fund had sent notices to ICTSI about the unpaid rentals, were ignored.
“The sale will happen this year,” he added.