MANILA (UPDATE) - The government is renting 2 ships of tycoon Dennis Uy's logistics firm 2GO Group that are used as quarantine facilities for P35 million, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Wednesday.
The 2 vessels are being rented for a relatively cheap price, Tugade said.
“Nirerentahan ito ng gobyerno. 'Yong 2 mga P35 million," he said in a virtual press briefing.
(Both ships are being rented out by the government for P35 million.)
"Mura naman 'yan at nagagamit if you will compute on the basis of bedspace and use,” he said.
(That's already cheap and useful if you will compute on the basis of bedspace and use.)
Uy is the chairman of the board of directors of 2GO Group.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran said the P35 million would cover the use of 2 ships for 2 months.
The government is currently using some ships as floating quarantine facilities as part of its coronavirus response program.
It has also converted several convention centers into massive quarantine facilities.
'FREE OF CHARGE'
After drawing flak from over the operating costs, Uy said Wednesday night he will waive the P35-million payment from the government.
"As Chairman of 2GO, I have conferred with other shareholders and have given explicit instructions to waive the PhP35M expected payment from the government; and if necessary make good the said amount out of my own funds to cover for the expected expenses to operate the said ships," he said in a statement.
Though operating the 2 ships as floating quarantine facilities costs P260 million, Uy said 2Go would not accept payment.
He also clarified he is not the sole owner and the majority shareholder of 2Go.
"I agree with the comments of some of the netizens that have been brought to my attention. In fact, I do believe that now, more than ever, in the time of COVID-19, we as Filipinos, whether in private or in government, have to work together, jointly make the necessary sacrifice, stand together to safeguard the lives and safety of our countrymen," he said.
Uy also apologized if he had offended others while the country battles the COVID-19 crisis.
"Again, I apologize if this news has unduly offended some of our fellow Filipinos, so let me be clear, 2GO is providing two vessels to serve as quarantine facilities free of charge to the Filipino people. Even if the government offers to pay the PhP35M, we in 2GO, in good conscience, have no intentions of accepting their offer," he said.