Dong: Speaker wants to void sale of Paskuhan

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Third District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales yesterday said that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants to rescind the sale of Paskuhan based on discussions with Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre.

This after Gonzales also moved to defer deliberation of the 2018 Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) budget after its questionable sale of the Philippine Christmas Village (Paskuhan) to Primier Central Inc.

Gonzales said that a government agency should always place public and government interests ahead in any of its decisions. He added that TIEZA should not enjoy government funding with its failure to clear its decision on the sale that is now subject of a congressional inquiry.

The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability chaired by Surigao del Sur Second District Rep. Johnny Pimentel Gonzales filed House Resolution 654 that called for the investigation of the sale on whether proper procurement laws were followed as well as ascertain the real ownership of the land of the said property.

It could be remembered that early this year, the Christmas Village theme park — later renamed to Hilaga — was sold by Tieza for P939 million as part of its asset privatization thrust. Paskuhan is one of the 13 government-owned properties under Tieza which have been eyed for privatization.

It was included in the Tier 1 of non-revenue generating assets which include Agoo Playa Hotel in La Union, and Matabungkay and Talisay in Batangas. The Hilaga property was part of the land owned by the Lazatin family. In 1989, it was reportedly sold to the government.
Then TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid confirmed that the 9.3-hectare lot where the Paskuhan Village is situated was acquired by the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) from its owner in 1989.

The sale of the Paskuhan Village remains to be questionable as the former General Manager Lapid based the TIEZA’s board decision on RA 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act)

However, RA 9184 as said by Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, only applies to the procurement activities of goods, consultancy, and infrastructure. (Photo source: • Aurelio Dong Duenas Gonzales Jr. Facebook Image)

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