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Property row to test JPEPA

Manila Times | Friday, August 03, 2007

Property row to test JPEPA

By William B. Depasupil

A MAJOR labor group on Thursday called on the Japanese government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), to step into a row between two Japanese groups in the development of a property in Japan owned by the Philippine government.

The National Labor Union (NLU) said the controversy over the Nampeidai property is a good test of the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) will work which it described as a conflict in the interpretation of Philippine laws as applied to Japanese interests.

The Nampeidai property is a piece of land in Tokyo, one of three government-owned lots that was leased to Japanese developers. The lease was awarded to Nagayama-Taisie Consortium (NTC).

The NLU president, Dave Diwa, said the labor front is closely watching at the Nampeidai property contro­versy as it shows how contracts in specific cases will be respected by both govern­ments, adding that he has earlier urged the Philippine govern­ment to study closely JPEPA for conflict of law problems.

DFA spokesman Claro Cristobal said the department is looking into the issue.

In the negotiation for the lease award, the consortium was represented by Masaichi Tsuchiya. The conflict stemmed from the termination of the authority given to Tsuchiya by NTC for loss of confidence.

Under the lease agreement, consortium is committed to construct a building on the property worth yen 1.7 billion. The Philippine government takes 44 percent of the building’s floor area and will take over the whole property after 50 years.

“Tsuchiya lost the personality to represent NTC but some members of the Bids and Awards Committee that awarded the lease to NTC continued to recognize Tsuchiya,” Diwa told reporters. “The confusion caused the delay in the start of construction by over a year now.”

Because of the conflict between the two Japanese groups, Diwa pointed out, the Philippines government is losing tens of millions of pesos, adding that the row could have been settled using Japanese laws while the award to the NTC is given due course.

The NLU, Diwa added, is gathering documents prepa­ratory to the filing of corruption charges against members of the bidding committee who have placed the Philippine interests in jeopardy.

 source: Manila Times