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BCDA eyes sale of remaining BGC property

60 ha occupied by Army, Navy may fetch P36B
/ 05:17 AM December 15, 2014

The state-controlled Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) seeks to unlock more values out of the local property boom by putting on the auction block before the end of President Aquino’s term about 60 hectares of remaining land in the sprawling Bonifacio Global City.

At an estimated minimum value of P60,000 a square meter at current prices, this suggests at least P36 billion worth of property within what is now a key central business district in the metropolis may be monetized by the BCDA.

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“We’re working on the approval of the President for [the sale of] the remaining lots here in BGC,” BCDA president Arnel Casanova told reporters at the sidelines of the ground-breaking ceremonies for Robinsons Land Corp.’s office tower Bonifacio Summit Center in BGC.

The Philippine Navy has about 29.5 hectares of land that could be privatized while the Philippine Army has almost the same size of disposable landbank, Casanova said.

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“We’re only waiting for the President to approve the disposition and BCDA will proceed immediately,” Casanova said.

Asked about the potential value of these property assets for sale, Casanova said the BCDA would need to come up with a new appraisal. “But basically, looking at the [market] pricing here, it should not be lower than P60,000 per sq m. These are the remaining prime lots in Global City,” he said.

Vested with corporate powers under Republic Act (RA) 7227 (Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992), which was signed into law by former President Corazon Aquino in 1992 (amended in 1995 and 2007), BCDA is mandated to transform former military bases into alternative productive civilian use. It also engages in public-private partnerships to push forward vital public infrastructure such as tollways, airports and seaports as well as major real estate developments.

Since its creation in 1992, the BCDA has generated P62.78 billion from the disposition of former Metro Manila camps, out of which P26.96 billion benefited the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

On the legal dispute with the SM group, which had submitted an unsolicited proposal for the 33-hectare Bonifacio South property, Casanova said the BCDA had petitioned the Supreme Court to take jurisdiction over the case on the en banc level.

BCDA was set to bid out the property but SM Land was able to get a temporary restraining order from a division of the Supreme Court.

“What’s at stake here is the validity of the presidential order to have it bid out so under the Constitution and the rules of the SC, any question on the legitimacy or validity of the order of the President must be taken up en banc,” Casanova said.

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Apart from being issued only by a division within the high tribunal, Casanova said the TRO was “questionable” because there were three versions of the same order. BCDA has filed a petition for the justice who issued the ruling to inhibit from the case.

“We believe that what’s at stake here is not just the property but billions in pesos in losses to the Philippines in terms of the [army] modernization,” Casanova said.

“Their (SM’s) proposal is about P39,000 per sq m. The fair market value now is P75,000 to P100,000. So you can imagine the disparity of the price. Even if we allow a Swiss challenge (pricing challenge wherein original proponent has the right to match the best bid), you are already proceeding at a loss. Any challenge must be pegged, at the minimum, on the fair value price,” Casanova said.

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