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Gov’t rental payments increase; P17.4B in 2018

By: Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto has urged the government to start ditching renting offices as the proposed budget for lease in 2018 shot up to P17.4 billion.

Recto said the government should consider “rent-to-own” options for offices to avoid spending billions of pesos for rentals, which increase every year.

“There should be a plan in which chosen government offices can graduate from being renters to owners,” Recto said in a statement.

Recto said P17.4-billion has been earmarked for property and equipment “rents and leases” in the P3.767-trillion 2018 national budget.

The amount, he said, is higher than the P13 billion allocated for this year, and more than double the P8.4 billion spent last year.

Recto said the government has been one of the biggest property renters. The Senate, for example, has long been a tenant of the GSIS building in Pasay City.

He added that many other government offices have stayed in the same buildings, “that if you compute the rents they had paid, it would have been enough to finance the construction of their own.”

The senator said that government or government-owned banks should finance the construction of such offices. He, however, admitted that there are challenges in allocating funds for the construction of government office buildings especially there are shortages in government hospital wards and police stations.

“So they will not compete for appropriations, baka pwedeng PPP (public-private partnership) model, or joint venture wherein government owns the land on which a building will be built by private groups, under a scheme beneficial to the government,” Recto said.

But while renting government agencies have yet to have their own buildings, Recto called on the administration to, in the meantime, to break down lease and rental payments in the national budget for transparency and accuracy.