STATE AUDITORS reported that Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) left idle its 9.9-hectare property at the Financial Center Area in Pasay City, depriving it of a possible income of around P1.543 billion.
In its 2020 audit report, the Commission on Audit (CoA) said that only three hectares out of a 12.95-hectare property allotted to the company in the area were used through a long-term lease contract with Pacific Concrete Products, Inc. The contract was forged on Oct. 8, 2019.
“Portions of the 9.9 hectares are under litigation with ejectment cases filed by PNCC against some former lessees who continuously occupied the premises despite expiration of their lease contracts,” CoA said.
The contested leases were entered through short-term agreements that ended on May 31, 2018 as PNCC’s board of directors had plans for property development in the area.
On July 10, 2019, the board passed a resolution that would approve the terms of reference for the bidding of the 9.9-hectare portion, prompting PNCC President and Chief Executive Officer Miguel E. Umali to seek the approval of the Office of the President (OP) on July 18 of the same year.
PNCC followed up on its request for approval on the terms of reference on Feb. 26, 2020, which was met with a letter from Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration Mcjill Bryant T. Fernandez addressed to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Domínguez III on the lease and development of the property.
The company has yet to receive an update on its request from the executive department.
“Persistent and collective efforts to obtain necessary approvals from the OP should have been exerted, considering that it has been three years since the expiration of the previous leases,” the state auditors said.
They added that leaving the prime property vacant and partly used by illegal occupants deprived PNCC of potential income.
CoA recommended for PNCC to meet with the Department of Finance about the letter from Mr. Fernandez to bid out the lease contract and to immediately proceed with bidding activities once approved by the executive department.
In an audit comment, PNCC said that it had been communicating with the Finance department’s Privatization and Management Office, which it said had been made aware of the OP’s letter seeking approval on the plan to develop its property at the Financial Center Area.
Based on its website, PNCC was incorporated in 1966 and had been granted a franchise in 1977 to operate, construct, and maintain toll facilities. —
Russell Louis C. Ku