This is with reference to the article “COA scolds PRA for P1/year rent for its properties” published by The Philippine Star last October 1, 2019. To date, PRA has been negotiating with the concerned government instrumentalities to address the concerns raised by the Commission on Audit (COA). PRA has been likewise exerting efforts to implement the constitutional body’s recommendations. In fact, the COA had noted that PRA had partially implemented its recommendations. Negotiations with the concerned local government units (LGUs) are being made for the acquisition of the subject properties.
Nevertheless, the PRA would like to emphasize that it leased out the subject properties primarily to serve the purposes of public interest, community service, and social welfare. The properties mentioned in the article are marginal areas within the periphery of the Coastal Road characterized as non-contiguous pocket areas with irregular configurations. Leasing out these properties at the time when there were no significant developments in the areas reduced the threat of informal settlers and illegal structures. Hence, saving the government the cost of securing the subject areas.
Four out of the ten properties mentioned in the article were leased out by the PRA to barangay governments. PRA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with each of the three barangays in the City of Parañaque. It is important to note that the MOAs were signed by the barangay captains in behalf of their respective barangays and not in their personal capacities. They signed only after they each secured barangay council resolutions authorizing them to sign the said agreements. These MOAs were entered into in the years 1990 and 1991.
As cited in the article, one of the properties leased out for P1/year is located in Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City. The area hosts the barangay multi-purpose hall, constructed and funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways; and the health center funded by the Department of Health. PRA already advised the barangay of the COA audit observation on June 8, 2015. Thereafter, several meetings were held to discuss possible options to comply with the COA recommendations.
Two properties mentioned in the article are located in Barangay Don Galo, Parañaque City. The barangay hall and multi-purpose sports complex can be found on site. The PRA sent the barangay a letter on August 4, 2016 advising them of the COA audit observation. Thereafter, meetings between PRA and the barangay were held. The current barangay captain informed PRA that consultations will be made with the Mayor of Parañaque to discuss the acquisition of the said lots.
The last of the four properties leased out to barangays is located in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City. The property hosts the barangay multi-purpose hall.
Aside from those leased out to barangays, the article mentioned six other properties. One of which is covered by a MOA with the Philippine National Police (PNP). It is currently occupied by the Local Government of Parañaque City by virtue of a transfer made by PNP. The PRA already served the LGU a notice to vacate. Currently, the LGU is negotiating a resolution of the issue with PRA – either to lease or purchase the property at latest appraised value.
Another property cited in the article is covered by a MOA with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). It is now the site for the Coast Guard Detachment Headquarters in the area. The PRA had also advised the PCG about the COA report. Subsequently, the PCG expressed its intention to either lease or purchase the lot at latest appraised value.
Also mentioned in the article is an area covered by two properties that is currently the site of a charity hospital being ran by the Foundation of Our Lady of Peace Mission, Inc. (FOLMI). The PRA issued FOLMI a notice to vacate last March 24, 2017. In a meeting held last April 22, 2019, FOLMI informed PRA that they are seeking the issuance of a Presidential Proclamation in their favor. Representatives from the Presidential Management Staff met with PRA to secure details of the said request. The PRA is currently awaiting the response of the Office of the President on the said matter.
Likewise included in the article is a property being occupied by the Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL). The PCL had offered to acquire the subject property in their letter dated April 1, 2019.
Lastly, the area in Las Piñas City that currently houses the Las Piñas Manpower Training Center was also mentioned in the article. It is currently covered by a MOA with Las Piñas City LGU and they had expressed interest in purchasing the property from PRA. The building in the said property was originally built as a livelihood training center for the benefit of relocatees affected by the coastal road project.
The LGUs, government agencies, and entities mentioned have made negotiations to acquire the lots they are occupying to comply with the COA observations but they are begging for a little more time to secure funding.
Atty. Janilo E. Rubiato
General Manager & CEO
Philippine Reclamation Authority