Intellectual Property Office’s space rentals ‘an avoidable expenditure’ – COA

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) could have saved at least P566.6 million had it invested on its own office space more than 15 years ago.

In its audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) said the lease for office space and parking area by IPOPHL, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is an “avoidable expenditure.”

It said that IPOPHL pays P4,851,478.63 monthly to rent a four-floor building in Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill Town Center in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, and P333,429.04 for 56 parking slots.

"It has already been more than 15 years from the time the IPOPHL became a self-sustaining agency, however, the agency is still leasing its office space with the Megaworld Corporation," the COA said.

"Seemingly, the agency is spending a huge amount of money totaling P62,218,892.04 annually for its rent/lease expenses which could be an avoidable expense," it said.

The COA found that on Sept. 16, 2022, the IPOPHL visited one of its two target sites -- the 3rd and 17th floors of Savya Financial Tower in Arca South in Taguig City.  Then, on Sept. 30, 2022, the IPOPHL team went to inspect another site -- Glaston Tower in Ortigas East in Pasig, which was formerly Tiendesitas.

Thereafter, COA said that IPOPHL sent a memorandum to the DTI Secretary to formalize the request for authority to acquire office space with proper justifications, cash flow projections, and also a plea to the DTI Secretary to endorse the IPOPHL’s request to the Office of the President.

The request was not endorsed because the IPOPHL will not be needing funds from the national government because since 2006 its expenses have been paid for from collections in its operations.

The COA said that IPOPHL had paid the reservation fee to the Savya Land Development Corporation on Feb. 14, 2023. However, it said, IPOPHL must still comply with the guidelines set forth in Republic Act No. 10752 or the Right-of-Way Act.