Home » Ports/Terminals » PPA to appeal SC ruling on Batangas land expropriation

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will appeal a Supreme Court (SC) decision ordering the agency to pay P11 billion to owners of expropriated land for the Batangas Port Modernization project.

PPA assistant general manager for operations Benjamin Cecilio, in an interview, said the agency is readying a motion for reconsideration for the decision involving 231 residents affected by the project.

Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, affirmed the earlier rulings of the Court of Appeals and Batangas Regional Trial Court, which set the expropriation price of the subject lots at P5,500 per square meter.

PPA insisted the value of the 1.3-million square meter (or 130 hectares) land should be lower than P4,800 per square meter because they were agricultural lands.

Cecilio said the PPA has no money to pay, adding that if they do all the port projects will face delays.

Based on audited financial statements, PPA’s retained earnings were at P14.89 billion as of end 2006.

“For sure we will file a motion for reconsideration,” Cecilio said, adding that the PPA legal department has been coordinating with the Office of the Solicitor General on the issue.

“Our bonuses will be gone and, worse, we may not continue other port projects,” Cecilio said.

He said there are no plans to take out a loan for the port project, since the court may garnish this.

The SC lifted the temporary restraining order it issued on August 7, 2006 enjoining the lower court from implementing its order compelling PPA to pay just compensation to the lot owners.

“The trial court is directed to implement its final and executory orders requiring the PPA to pay the respondents the amount of P5,500 per square meter with 12% annual interest from the date of expropriation on September 11, 2001 until fully paid,” the SC said in its decision.

“It is understood that the zonal value per square meter of expropriated lots, classified as industrial, is increased from P400 to P4,250 per square meter. The initial deposit paid by petitioner to respondents shall be deducted from the total amount of just compensation payable to them,” it added.

Cecilio said the ongoing bidding for the Batangas Port project will not stop.

Eligible bidders International Container Terminals Services, Inc. and Asian Terminals, Inc. were given until September 7 to submit their documents; the opening of bids will follow.

The winning bidder will manage the terminal for 25 years with option for an extension.

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