Duterte urged to sell military golf courses

PRESIDENT Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte should sell military golf courses to generate at least P150-billion and fund the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) stimulus package, an independent veteran lawmaker proposed on Sunday.

"If President Rodrigo Duterte is looking for government assets to sell in order to help fund a stimulus package in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he could start by auctioning off the golf courses in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Villamor Air Base and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.

In his proposal for a P1-trillion economic stimulus, Lagman identified the sale of government properties as among the funding sources for the stimulus.

Lagman said the three golf courses have a total area of approximately 150 hectares of prime real estate, which could fetch a total of more than P150-billion.

“The 18-hole Camp Aguinaldo golf course is part of Camp Aguinaldo’s 178.78 hectares, which is proximate to EDSA, C-5 and high-scale subdivisions like White Plains, Corinthian Gardens, and Green Meadows,” said Lagman.

“The Villamor Golf Course is built on some 60 hectares of the Villamor Air Base which is ideally adjacent to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the sprawling Resorts World Complex just south of the Makati Central Business District,” said Lagman.

“The Veterans Golf Course is an 18-hole course consisting of 33 hectares inside the 55-hectare Veterans Memorial Medical Center at the corner of Mindanao Avenue and North Avenue, Quezon City, and it is less than three kilometers from the Philippine Government Center and 10 kilometers from Makati and Manila,” Lagman pointed out.

In 1992, Lagman recalled that 240 hectares of Fort Bonifacio was privatized, including an 18-hole championship golf course.

“It was subsequently sold for a reported P333,283.88 per square meter,” said Lagman.

“Twenty-five hectares of Villamor Air Base was also later privatized and is now known as the Newport City, an urban integrated tourism resort complex,” he said.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 7227, it mandates the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to convert part of military bases into alternative productive civilian use.

“There are many more hectares of military camps and other civilian government lands nationwide which could be tapped for privatization, including those owned by State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) which are not utilized or undeveloped,” said Lagman.