7, 2013

NR # 3219B

Certification of inalienable government-owned properties and assets sought
A lawmaker has filed a bill mandating an inventory and certification of inalienable government-owned properties and assets. Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental) said House Bill 428 aims to avoid future confusion and attempts to replicate endeavors that disregard the State’s right to its own assets and properties. The bill also promotes transparency and accountability, which is exactly the principle being adhered to by the Aquino administration. According to Benitez, despite parameters set by the Constitution and various laws on the limitations of what State-owned assets and properties may be sold, there seems to have been a number of instances in the past where certain entities have tried to circumvent the law and initiate the sale of some government properties. Benitez said one classic case was the transaction of the Philippines Estates Authority (PEA) and the Amari Coastal Bay Development Corp involving the sale of some of the submerged lands in Manila Bay but was later on declared null and void by the Supreme Court citing that the reclaimed land remains inalienable natural resources of the public domain. Similar attempts were also done with the Roponggi and Fujimi Properties in Japan by the past administration. Fortunately, the Supreme Court halted the sale of both properties, Benitez said. Benitez likewise cited the Manila Hotel case where the High Tribunal ordered a cease and desist order preventing the sharing of majority of shares of the Manila Hotel Corporation to Renong Berhard, a Malaysian Firm. “If enacted into law, the proposed policy is another way to ensure that the government is doing its duty to defend its people and their rights over what is lawfully theirs as citizens of this country,” Benitez stressed. Under the measure, a National Properties Committee referred to as the “Task Force” shall be created to conduct an inventory of government-owned properties and assets and determine their status. The Task Force, which shall be under the Office of the Speaker, is mandated to

review local and foreign laws and regulations governing these properties. It shall identify which among the assets are inalienable and alienable pursuant to the pertinent provisions in the Constitution, Republic Act 386 otherwise known as the Civil Code of the Philippines. The Task Force is directed to complete its inventory within 2 years from the effectivity of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and the list to be submitted to the President. The Task Force, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Finance (DOF), National Historical Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are mandated to prepare and promulgate the IRR. The Office of the President shall appropriate the funds required. (30) lvc

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