GSIS studies offer to purchase tree park

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BAGUIO CITY  – The management of the Government Service Insurance Corporation (GSIS) is currently studying the offer of the City Government to purchase its property  near the Baguio Convention Center as a part of the city’s greenbelt

In his letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, GSIS President and General Manager Robert G. Vergara said the State insurance corporation is looking into the impact of the purchase to a pending civil case and to the company’s social insurance fund.

Earlier, the City Government expressed its interest to purchase the said GSIS property to maintenance it as a tree park and part of the city’s greenbelt area and prevent massive developments that is affecting the ambience of the city.

“The property is subject of Civil Case No. 6935-R pending before the Regional Trial Court Branch 60 filed by GSIS against Baguio City and others,” Vergara stated in his letter.

The GSIS Official indicated the said property is part of the assets of the social insurance fund and is currently valued in GSIS books at P336 million based on an appraisal conducted last November 7, 2015 by the corporation’s external appraiser.

According to him, it is important for the insurance corporation to thoroughly review the offer of the local government with due consideration to other factors that may have impact to the supposed sale once it materializes in the future.

“We shall submit our recommendations to the GSIS Board of Trustees on the matter right after our pool of experts will come out with their recommendations on whether or not to pursue the sale of the property,” Vergara said.

It can be recalled that the City Government purchased the Baguio Convention Center and the one-hectare parking space around the facility from the GSIS through its accumulated share from the lease rentals of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).

The tree park which was previously part of the Baguio Convention Center property prior to the sale of the latter was the subject of a previous controversy after the SM Investment and Development Corporation proposed to develop the area with high-rise condominium structures necessitating cutting the fully-grown trees within the property, one of the few remaining tree parks in the city. .

It can be recalled that GSIS earlier requested the City Government for land swap asa measure to prevent the condominium project.

By Dexter A. See

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