THE Department of Finance (DoF) intends to start the redevelopment of the 2.2 hectare Mile Long Property in Makati this year in order to generate rental income for the government, with the proceeds to help fund retirement costs for military personnel, according to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III.

“I hope we can start the process before the year end,” Mr. Dominguez said in a text message to BusinessWorld.

In 2017, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that he wanted more production out of a government asset like the Mile Long property, which had been leased to Sunvar Realty Development Corp. owned by the Rufino and Prieto families, for 14 years, generating no revenue for the government.

The President said that if sold, the property could generate funds to build housing for soldiers.

The DoF initially disclosed its plans to sell a portion of the property, but later on said in 2018 that it would rather redevelop it under the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).

Mr. Dominguez clarified in the text message that “The plans were modified after it was determined that this asset could be developed as a mixed-use rental property with the income assigned to support the retirement fund for military personnel.”

“We are not selling any property of the government. The only property we are selling are those that are from the PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation). That’s from the banks that went bankrupt, and the PDIC has to sell those properties to recover what they spent. And also, what is with the PMO (Privatization Management Office). But otherwise, [there is] no intention of selling any other property,” Mr. Dominguez said in a phone call.

Mr. Dominguez said that the funds Mile Long will generate when redeveloped will not be used to build housing for soldiers but rather serve “as a source of continuing income for the retirement fund.”

In a statement in the previous day, the DoF said that it has earned P142.6 million from the Mile Long property which it took over from Sunvar in August 2017.

In the statement, the DoF’s Privatization and Management Office (PMO) said that the property is earning around P6.7 million on average per month. According to the Department, Mile Long has 128 establishments occupying 219 of its 309 units as of June, for a 71% occupancy rate.

The PMO said that the government is also earning from the lease of three Mile long parking areas. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio