Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Navy lots for lease to business groups

By Edith Regalado and Jaime Laude

The Philippine Star, Thursday, July 29, 2010

Negotiations to lease out the Navy’s major facilities
on Roxas Boulevard and in Taguig City for private
commercial development in order to raise funds for
fleet modernization are in advanced stages, President
Aquino told The STAR yesterday when he attended the
24th anniversary celebration at the paper’s offices
in Port Area.

He also said the private developer, who he declined
to name until the deal is finalized, is willing to
give an initial $100 million as goodwill money, enough
for the Philippine Navy to purchase four new ships to
patrol the country’s 36,000 nautical miles of coastline.
He noted that the Navy currently has 32 ships in its
fleet, and most of these vessels are “mas matanda pa
as akin (older than I am).” Mr. Aquino is 50 years old.

President Aquino, in his first State of the Nation Address
last Monday, disclosed the military’s plan to have the
Navy headquarters on Roxas Boulevard in Manila as well
the Naval Station at Fort Bonifacio leased to and developed
by private groups.

“They will take care of the funding necessary to transfer
the Navy headquarters to Camp Aguinaldo. Immediately, we
will be given $100 million. Furthermore, they will give us
a portion of their profits from their businesses that would
occupy the land they will rent,” he said.

“In short, we will meet our needs without spending, and we
will also earn. There have already been many proposals from
local and foreign investors to provide for our various needs,
” he said.

“We will be able to construct the needed infrastructure in
order to help tourism grow,” he said.

“The Philippine Navy welcomes this development,” Lt. Col. Edgard
Arevalo, spokesman of the Philippine Navy, said in reaction to
Mr. Aquino’s announcement.

“We need to modernize but we have no money. So we have to come
up with alternative sources of funding,” Arevalo said.

The Fort Bonifacio Naval station, which covers a golf course,
housing units for officers and enlisted personnel, a hospital,
and the headquarters of the Philippine Marines, covers an area
of approximately 22 hectares.

The Army, meanwhile, has some 100 hectares of land at Fort
Bonifacio in Taguig City while the Air Force has 30 hectares at
the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

“They will develop at no cost to us and then we will be sharing
profits. The properties remain ours. This is what we call public-
private partnership,” Arevalo said.

“The Army and Air Force should come up with similar recommendations
which is the leasing of valuable lands without really losing
ownership,” AFP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said.

Camp Aguinaldo would eventually be the headquarters of all
three major services as well as the Department of National
Defense, just like the Pentagon in Virginia in the United

Mabanta said the Armed Forces has a sizable share in the
proceeds from the sale of military real estate assets by
the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“It (proposed public-private partnership) will be one of
the possible sources of funds. At this point, the major
fund is the proceeds from the BCDA. We are getting a lion’s
share of it as well as from government appropriations,
” Mabanta said.

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