House to probe P13-B losses of housing agency

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 06 2014 03:01 AM | Updated as of Mar 06 2014 11:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability voted yesterday to look into the financial losses of more than P13 billion of a housing agency.

The committee, chaired by Pampanga Rep. Oscar Rodriguez, decided to invite officers of state-owned Home Guaranty Corp. (HGC) to explain the losses.

Among those to be invited are HGC past president Gonzalo Bongolan and current president Manuel Sanchez.

The inquiry was prompted by a resolution filed by Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of party-list group Abakada, which alleges that HGC had been “grossly mismanaged.”

De la Cruz said the firm’s losses were hampering its ability to perform its mandate of providing guaranty to mass housing projects and contributes to government’s fiscal problems.

He called the attention of the committee to a Commission on Audit report showing that HGC has accumulated a deficit amounting to P13.296 billion as of 2012, partly from a bungled bond floatation.

He said HGC has exposure in a private property development in Quezon City worth P5 billion. “It is not mandated to make such investments,” he said.

De la Cruz said HGC’s mandate is to “provide risk coverage or guarantees and fiscal incentives to banks and financial institutions to grant housing development loans and home financing to qualified Filipinos.”

He said the state housing firm also sold a valuable asset, television network IBC 13, “at a grossly undervalued price, costing the government at least P1 billion in losses.”

“The property was sold at P9,999 per square meter, when it could have commanded at least P22,000 per square meter,” he added.

He pointed out that while it incurred losses, HGC failed to collect receivables due from other government agencies, including about P1 billion from the National Housing Authority (NHA).

“It really boggles my mind why HGC, despite its condition, does not want to collect its more than P1 billion from NHA when all it has to do is to submit documents, but it has not done so,” he stressed.