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‘Fire sale’ of gov’t non-performing assets feared

January 31, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 230 views

NO to “fire sale.”

This is the appeal of Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto to the national government on the reported plan of selling its non-performing assets.

According to Recto, the government’s reported plan to sell off its NPAsshould be “curated well” so it would not lead to a “fire sale” of state-owned land, businesses and franchises.

“The rule in privatization is that we should not be selling the geese that lay the golden eggs,” Recto said.

“We should be careful that what remains of state crown jewels are not included in a baratilyo sale simply because we are raising funds for a project,” he added.

Recto pointed out that In inventorying what can be sold, the strategic value of a company “should not come ahead of the chance to make a fast buck out of the sale.”

“Meron tayong stewardship role na ginagampanan para sa susunod na henerasyon. But if “derelict assets” are successfully auctioned off, proceeds should be earmarked for “activities high in both social and financial ROIs, like housing,” Recto said.

“Kung lahat ng mga Taipans nagkakandarapa magpatayo ng condo kasi may kita doon, bakit hindi ito ang pondohan ng pamahalaan – ang pagpapatayo ng abot-kayang tirahan?” he added.

Recto said the microscopic share of shelter agencies to the national budget – less than 1/10th of 1 percent – prompts the use of “off-budget sources” to wipe out the estimated 6.658 million housing backlog.

The Department of Housing, Shelter and Urban Development and its attached agencies account for P4.7 billion of the P5.26 trillion national budget this year.

“Kaya ‘yang pabahay ang dapat pondohan, hindi lang ng Maharlika Investment Fund, pati ng pambansang budget na rin,” he said.

At P1 million per unit, the DHSUD said it would require P6.658 trillion to erase the shelter deficit.

“Eh ‘yan ay 127 percent na kaagad ng national budget,” Recto said.

He said the land required alone for the 6.658 million units is about 61,000 hectares, “which is about 15 times the land area of Manila.”

Recto said building up the shelter inventory in numbers not seen before is not mission impossible under the Marcos administration.

“One, you have as secretary of Housing a proven builder, the first time in history. Second, housing is in the legacy agenda of President BBM because he has to do better than his mom, who built those BLISS condos which remain a good template for mass housing,” Recto said.