Finance dept flags Chevron deal for Batangas land as 'onerous'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2020 02:55 PM | Updated as of Jan 21 2020 06:12 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The government has uncovered another alleged "onerous" deal with a private firm, this time involving a lease agreement between Chevron Philippines and a unit of the state investment arm, National Development Co, the Department of Finance said Tuesday.

Chevron has been paying a "miniscule" monthly rent of P0.74 per square meter for a 120-hectare property in Batangas province, compared to the current "fair market value" of P17.90 per square meter, the DOF said in a statement.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, an NDC board member, described the deal with the firm formerly known as Caltex Philippines as "another government contract with onerous provisions."

ABS-CBN News has reached out to Chevron for comment but it has yet to issue a statement as of this posting. 

President Duterte earlier this month promised to "correct" all government contracts before he steps down from office in 2022.

Government lawyers are renegotiating concession contracts with Metro Manila's two water distributors, Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Co.

Earlier Tuesday, Duterte's spokesperson and chief legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, said he would recommend a review of the lease deal between Ayala Land and the University of the Philippines for Technohub in Quezon City on suspicion of being disadvantageous to the state.

An attached agency of the DOF, the Privatization and Management Office, uncovered the alleged "onerous" terms of the Chevron deal during a review to decide whether or not the lease would be renewed, the statement said.

Chevron unit Batangas Land Co Inc uses the land in San Pascual, Batangas for a 1.2-million square meter IT park. Annual rent payments of P10.66 million since 2010 account for 4 percent of "fair market" in the area, at around P257.76 million, the DOF said.

Caltex acquired the Batangas property in 1946 under the Bell Trade Act, which sought to guide economic ties between the Philippines and the US, the DOF said. Chevron got "preferential treatment" to continue occupying the property after the law expired, the statement added.