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GSIS board backtracks on Port Area property sale plan

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:30 AM July 05, 2019

The board of trustees of state-run pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on Thursday revoked its earlier decision to sell the pension fund’s Port Area property and installed its chair Rolando L. Macasaet as officer in charge.

Citing a report from Macasaet, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the GSIS board during its meeting also accepted the resignation of former president and general manager Jesus Clint O. Aranas.

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The board likewise “revoked resolutions authorizing the sale of the ICTSI [International Container Terminal Services Inc.]/PPA [Philippine Ports Authority] property until further review and consultation with all concerned stakeholders.”

Tycoon Enrique Razon-led ICTSI had claimed the GSIS had “at most, only a naked title” to the disputed 67-hectare land.

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“In fairness to the board, Aranas always assured the board that this transaction had the approval of President Duterte,” Macasaet said.

The Inquirer on Thursday reported that the then seven-person GSIS board of trustees issued on June 25 Board Resolution No. 89, which approved the minimum bid price for and cash sale of Port Area Property 1, while also granting the president and general manager the authority to do so.

Contrary to reports claiming that the GSIS board did not approve the planned sale, Board Resolution 89 was signed by Aranas, who served as vice chair, chair Rolando Macasaet and trustees Wilfredo Maldia, Jocelyn de Guzman Cabreza, Alan Luga, Nina Ricci Ynares-Chiongbian, Anthony Sasin, Kahar Macasayon and Carlo Antonio Almirante.

“Since 2018, the board has considered the sale of Port Area Property 1 that, except for income from valuation gains, does not contribute to GSIS’ operation and is being claimed by the PPA despite the fact that the title is in the name of GSIS,” the now revoked Board Resolution 89 read.

While the office of the GSIS’ vice president for real estate asset disposition and management on June 10 proposed a minimum bid price of P36.995 billion for the property, the board had approved  to sell on an “as-is-where-is basis” Port Area Property 1 at a minimum bid price of P50 billion.

The board had also authorized Aranas to sign, execute and deliver the deed of absolute sale and all pertinent documents to the winning bidder.

With Aranas gone, Macasaet assumed the OIC position as instructed by Dominguez.

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“I will officially advise Malacañang through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and you through a formal letter ASAP (on matters related to the property),” Macasaet added.

Dominguez—head of the Duterte economic team—on Wednesday said it was possible that Macasaet would replace Aranas, who resigned on Tuesday.

Macasaet was also rumored to lead the Department of Budget and Management when President Duterte appointed now Governor Benjamin E. Diokno to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Macasaet’s name later on made another buzz when he was said to be being considered to head the National Economic and Development Authority  in case current Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia would leave that post.

Macasaet, 58, replaced former GSIS chair Francisco Duque III when he was appointed health secretary. He was a member of San Miguel Corp.’s board of prior to his stint at the pension fund.

He also served as president of state-run Philippine National Construction Corp.  under both former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.

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TAGS: Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Jesus Clint O. Aranas, Port Area property, Rolando L. Macasaet
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