September 22, 2021

Privatization Office, Surigao City in dispute over Phinico assets


The local government of Surigao cannot sell the equipment turned over by Philnico Industrial Corp. in 1999, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) said late Monday.

The machines are part of a payment restructuring deal entered into by Philnico that covers government's share in Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. and thus cannot be put on the auction block, the PMO said.

The city government of Surigao is lining up for auction various machineries turned over by Philnico in 1999 after the Nickel refinery plant in Surigao has been sold to the national government.

“The PMO wishes to inform the public that the machineries and equipment formerly owned by Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. (NMIC) is the subject of an injunction case pending before the court," PMO chief Karen Singson said.

Singson explained that the equipment is part of the $263.8 million share sale between the government and Philnico in 1996, of which only $1.25 million of the purchase price has so far been paid.

The Surigao City government is selling the equipment to recoup what it claimed are losses from unpaid taxes.

The machineries are subject to real property tax, and is owed by the national government to the tune of P200.75 million — in back taxes from 2000 to 2010.

The PMO brought the matter before the Surigao Regional Trial Court Branch 29, which issued on Sept. 15 an injunction against the city government.

Still, the city government of Surigao is pushing for the auction, initially slated for Sept. 19 to Oct. 26.

“In the order made in open court on September 15, 2011, the City of Surigao has been ordered not to proceed with any sale or auction of the Nonoc assets until the case for injunction has been heard and resolved," Singson said.

Singson said the equipment are “owned by national government and should not be subject to real property tax."

PMO is tasked to evaluate and review issues related to the disposal of government assets. —VS, GMA News

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