Military intervene in SM Land-BCDA row
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is jumping into the dispute between Henry Sy-led SM Land Inc. and state-run developer Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
In an 11-page document submitted to the Supreme Court on Thursday, February 21, the two government agencies said they are intervening in the case that has stalled the privatization of the Bonifacio South Pointe project in Taguig City.
They said the fate of the 33.1-hectare project involves national security because it "directly strikes at the heart of the AFP modernization program."
“The AFP, as a direct beneficiary of the disposition of the Metro Manila Camps undertaken by the BCDA, will be heavily injured by the petition to prevent BCDA from exercising it’s duty,” the document read.
The military's intervention comes after BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said that SM Land's Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the project has deprived the AFP of crucial funds for its modernization.
The DND and AFP are entitled to 50% of the private sector partner's P7 billion cash payment for the project.
“Any delay in the generation of AFP funds can be a national security risk,” Casanova said. The BCDA is tasked with privatizing former military bases.
In 2012, the BCDA rejected SM Land's unsolicited offer of P38,500 per sqm and decided to open the development for competitive bidding. Casanova claims that SM Land's offer was significantly lower than the market price in the area. The nearby McKinley property is said to be valued at P80,000 per sqm. to P100,000 sqm.
“Based on the findings of the BCDA, after a careful study of SMLI’s improved offer, they found SMLI’s revised proposal to be prejudicial to government’s interest for it will not yield the best value for the Government,” the intervention read.
Casanova said that BCDA invited SM Land to join the public bidding. He added that the company blocked the modernization program and insisted on making the deal on a lower price.
“SM Land has no right to compel BCDA to accept a lower value for the property it offered in an unsolicited and negotiated process. As stewards of public assets, our job is to generate the best value for our government in an open and competitive bidding where SM Land is very much welcome to participate in,” he said. - Rappler.com