Allow us to clarify issues raised by Neal Cruz, which could mislead the public about the legal position of the National Housing Authority (NHA) with respect to its properties occupied by the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation (MSBF) and National Kidney and Transplant Institute, or NKTI (Inquirer, 11/30/12).
On the MSBF, the NHA maintains that while the former does have usufructuary rights over the 7-hectare property located along Quezon Avenue, it has the obligation to pay and settle the real property taxes due on the land. But we would like to emphasize that the assessment of taxes against MSBF is the sole responsibility of the Quezon City Hall. In fact, NHA is steadfast in its position that despite the auction sale conducted by the Quezon City government, NHA—not the Quezon City government—remains the owner of the 7-hectare property.
The NKTI, on the other hand, does not dispute the NHA’s ownership of the lot occupied by the Kidney Center. However, it had attempted in the past to have the title transferred to its name. It is our position that Presidential Proclamation No. 2381 does not automatically vest upon NKTI ownership of or title to the lot it occupies. The Office of the Ombudsman, Philippine Science High School and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas all have presidential proclamations identical to NKTI’s, yet these three agencies negotiated and paid NHA for the land they occupy.
Why then is NKTI claiming that it is exempt from payment? Unlike MSBF, the NKTI cannot claim to have usufructuary rights because the presidential proclamation did not give it this right.
NHA, as a government agency, has consistently taken action to protect its own rights over its properties. That is, after all, part of its mandate.—CHITO M. CRUZ, general manager, National Housing Authority
As we went to press, we received word that the Department of Health and the NHA have “reached an agreement” on the matter.—Ed.