Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said if need be, the government should sell the properties of other departments instead of the priced Philippine properties in Japan as suggested by no less than President Duterte himself.
“I will never agree to the sale of our properties in Japan for any reason. Sell the properties of the departments of budget, treasury, health above all for its lousy response to COVID,” Locsin said in a tweet.
Locsin was reacting to a statement made by President Duterte on Monday night, suggesting the sale of the Philippine properties in Japan as part of the government effort to find other sources of funding for the country’s response to COVID-19.
Instead of disposing of the historic properties in Japan, the DFA secretary suggested that the government should instead consider those “idle” ones belonging to other government agencies.
“Sell the properties of our line departments. Many idle ones,” he said.
Locsin, known for his oftentimes sarcastic and acerbic tweets, specifically pointed to the properties under the Department of Health (DOH) that should be sold in lieu of the properties in Japan.
“Imagine selling our Japan properties to fund the programs of DOH? Rob PhilHealth some more instead. They’re good at that. Sell San Lazaro. Sell RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine),” he said.
Almost two weeks ago, Locsin decried an alleged “plot” to sell any of the four properties located in Tokyo and Kobe.
“There is another plot to dispose of four of our Japan properties. This is a second Pearl Harbor perpetrated by Filipinos on our own patrimony,” the DFA chief said in a social media post.
He, however, did not name those behind the plot.
The four properties being referred to are the 3,179-square meter Philippine property on 306 Roppongi St. 5-Chome Minato-ku in Tokyo; the 2,489.96-sq.m. Nampeidai property at 11-24 Nampeidai-machi, Shibuya-ku also in Tokyo; the 764.72 sq.m. commercial property at 63 Naniwa-cho in Kobe; and the residential property at 1-980-2 Obanoyama-cho, Shinohara, Nada-ku, Kobe.
In a 1990 ruling, the Supreme Court said the four are “properties and the capital goods and services procured from the Japanese government for national development projects are part of the indemnification to the Filipino people for their losses in life and property and their suffering during World War II.”