Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he rejected a revived offer to auction the four immovable assets of the Philippines in Japan purchased as World War II reparations.
Locsin stated that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) submitted a position paper against the sale to Congress, which he contrasted with another World War II attack launched on our own heritage by the Philippines. He said those behind the sale had cited the plight of war veterans to support the drive to sell the properties, but only after kickbacks from the sale were in fact.
There is another plan to dispose of four of our assets in Japan. This is a second Pearl Harbor on our own patrimony committed by Filipinos, Locsin tweeted Monday. Under the war reparation deal with Japan on May 9, 1956, the Philippine government purchased four properties in Tokyo and Kobe. The Roppongi property in Tokyo, one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the crowded Japanese capital, is the most coveted of them.
The Philippine property of 3,179 square meters on 306 Roppongi St. 5-Chome Minato-ku, Tokyo has survived many attempts to be disposed of either by auction or by long term lease.
In 1989 the Corazon Aquino administration attempted to sell it to the Japanese government for $225 million, or roughly P6 billion at the time, with a huge chunk of the selling price supposedly going to pay taxes. The late Vice President Salvador Laurel stepped in to save the selling of the property that he considered priceless as it was a monument to the Filipino people’s courage and sacrifice in the face of an invader.
Laurel filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which granted a permanent restraining order on Feb. 20, 1990, and ruled that the selling of the land required Congress to pass a statute. It’s true that the Roppongi property is important not because of the high real estate values in Tokyo but because of its symbolic importance to all Filipinos — veterans and civilians alike, said the Supreme Court. Locsin announced last month that during the pandemic he refused all plans for the selling of government assets abroad.
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