Solons caution gov’t on privatization

Published by rudy Date posted on July 3, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers on Thursday warned the government against a total sellout of all its assets and instead proposed that it retain minority share in properties it intended to privatize.

Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez said private groups interested in the assets could enter into a joint venture scheme with the government, with the latter as a minority partner, so that government would continue to have “perpetual income” from these assets.

“We look at it on a perpetual basis, so that government will have an account that will continue to grow as the value of the business and the property continue to grow,” Golez said at the hearing of the House oversight committee on the President’s 10-point agenda.

Representatives Eduardo Zialcita of Paranaque and Milagros Magsaysay of Zambales backed Golez proposal.

”A joint venture will ensure perpetual cash flow,” Zialcita said in the same hearing.

Magsaysay questioned the Department of Finance’s program of selling government assets including those that rake in income for the government, such as the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC).

“PNOC-EC is making a lot, but how come DoF has always been adamant in trying to sell its shares considering that it is making much for the government,” Magsaysay said, adding that PNOC-EC turns in about P7 billion in revenues a year.

Crisanta Legaspi, undersecretary for privatization, said that privatization proceeds of government assets from 2004 to 2008 amounted to P155 billion.

This year, the government expects P30 billion from the sale of assets. Up for auction are the government’s P11-billion, 40-percent stake in PNOC-EC and the P10-billion property of the Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig City.

For 2010, Legaspi said the DoF programmed only P2.5 billion from privatization, saying that being an election year, investors would be on a “wait-and-see” mode. –Lira Dalangin-Fernandez,

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