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Nonoc machineries are owned by the nat'l gov't - PMO

PIECES of equipment lined up for auction by the city government of Surigao next week are the subject of a court case lodged by the national government and therefore cannot be disposed of, the Privatization and Management Office (PMO) said.

The subject equipment were turned over by Philnico Industrial Corp. (PIC) to the government in 1999 after the latter acquired the Nickel refinery plant in Surigao and deemed that the machineries are already unnecessary for the change in the processing of minerals.

These machineries have been turned over to government by PIC in consideration for a restructuring of the payment terms for the purchase price of the government shares in Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. Thus, this is part of the $263.8 million share sale transaction between the government and PIC in 1996, of which only $1.25 million of the purchase price has been paid to government.

The Surigao city government, however, is insisting that the machineries are subject to real property tax and that it is owed by the national government a total of P200.75 million in back taxes from 2000-2010.

In order to recoup alleged claims, local officials have put the machineries at the auction block.

The PMO brought the matter before the Surigao Regional Trial Court Branch 29, which issued on Sept. 15 an injunction against the city government.

Despite this, Surigao was reportedly pushing for the auction, initially slated for Sept. 19, on Oct. 26.

“The PMO wishes to inform the public that the machineries and equipment formerly owned by Nonoc Mining and Industrial Corp. (NMIC) is the subject of an injunction case pending before the court,” PMO chief Karen Singson said.

“In the order made in open court on September 15, 2011, the City of Surigao has been ordered not to proceed with any sale or auction of the Nonoc assets until the case for injunction has been heard and resolved,” Singson added.

“Let this serve as notice to the public that any sale or auction of the Nonoc Redundant Assets that will be conducted by the City of Surigao on October 26, 2011 or on any date prior to the final resolution of the injunction case is and shall be in violation of the order of the court.”

In addition, Singson stressed that the pieces of equipment are “owned by national government and should not be subject to real property tax.”

Furthermore, Singson this action by the Surigao city government “forestalls rather than aid” the efforts of the government to recover the PIC’s balance for its purchase of the state’s Nonoc stake. (DOF)

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