Statement of Unity of Concerned Filipinos in Japan
Protect the Philippine Patrimony in Japan!
Save the Philippine Fujimi Property from Greed and Corruption:
We are outraged by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration attempt for a renewed bidding call for the so-called “development” of the Fujimi property, a part of the World War II reparations that Japan paid the Philippines for war damages. The Fujimi is a 5,219 square meters prime property located in a mixed residential and commercial district in Tokyo.
The unwanted call to subject the Philippine treasure and patrimony in the country for built-operate-transfer scheme comes in a time after the revelation by Engineer Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. at the Philippine Senate Blue Ribbon hearings last 8 February 2008 on the overpriced Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company-National Broadband Network (ZTE-NBN) project. We are dismayed by the revelations that former Commission on Election Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., with the alleged involvement of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, ordered the inclusion in the proposed project a large amount of kickbacks, amounting to as much as 130 million US dollars (or more than 5.2 billion pesos).
In the same vein, both the ZTE-NBN project bidding and the Fujimi property bidding have no clear public rationale in the first place and like the former have to be stopped. All are part of so many public properties, natural resources, government agencies, overseas Filipino workers and others being sacrificed for the greed of the few.
In August 2003, the Arroyo government discretely published an ad in the newspapers soliciting bids for the development of the remaining properties. This "stealth attack" was hugely successful as it was not until October that the Filipino community here got word of the new attempt. The bidding schedule was particularly disturbing since it was timed so that awards could be made by the day prior to the moratorium on property dealings which kicks in 6 months before the elections - a blatant attempt that we in Japan see as a desperate effort to quickly raise funds for the election campaign. Towards the end of November, no less than Sen. Manuel Villar issued a statement that he had been informed that the bidding was not pushing through.
In February 2004, to the great surprise of people in Tokyo, articles suddenly start appearing in the Philippine newspapers that the Arroyo government was prepared to award 50-year leases for the Shibuya and two Kobe properties in exchange for 948 million pesos (1.78 billion yen) under a "hybrid build-operate-transfer" scheme.
The Kudanshita, Fujimi property was excluded from the award - we surmise in part to pacify the ambassador, who lives there, who had been against the disposal of the properties. The awards are to be given to two companies: Urban Corporation, a relatively young property developer based in Hiroshima; and a certain Berg Corporation, which is not listed anywhere in Japan. Information on the other bidders, prices submitted, and the details of the schemes to be undertaken were not announced, for reasons we cannot understand other than an aversion to transparency. Even senior level embassy officers in Tokyo were ignorant of the details throughout the bidding process.
Once again, in February 25, 2008, in the height of the nationwide action calling for Arroyo’s resignation due to corruption charges and Peoples Power anniversary, the news reports the resumption of Fujimi property bidding. This time, the Philippine Ambassador, Domingo L. Siazon who openly speaks against Fujimi property disposal is painted in the dark. As the news says, the Philippine ambassador might be “bent on favoring a close relative or friends of his wife’s clan in Japan.” A statement made by an official of the Department of Finance.
Sobra na, tama na, kumilos na (Enough, stop this, let’s act now)! We the Filipinos in Japan stands to oppose all the forms of removing away from us our own patrimonial rights. Therefore, we are affixing our signatures to show our unity and in joining the millions of Filipinos calling for the resignation or ousting of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It is only through her removal in the office that the Philippine patrimony in Japan and the Fujimi property will rest securely.
Protect the Philippine Patrimony in Japan!
Save the Philippine Fujimi Property Away from Greed and Corruption!
Oust Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo NOW!