Chiz says P600-M+ fire insurance claims should fund rehab of Central Post Office building

Chiz says P600-M+ fire insurance claims should fund rehab of Central Post Office building

The Manila Central Post Office as fire rages Monday morning (Photo by Benjie Cuaresma)  

MANILA — The rehabilitation of the historic Manila Central Post Office building must have as its seed fund proceeds from fire insurance claims, Sen. Chiz Escudero stressed on Wednesday (May 24).

“That should be the financial cornerstone of its reconstruction. Before any appropriated funds are tapped, insurance should be collected first. Bago galawin ang nasa national budget, habulin muna ang insurance,” Escudero said in a statement.

“The law is clear. The GSIS is the state insurance company of the Republic,” he pointed out, referring to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

The GSIS has already confirmed that the historic Manila Central Post Office Building, gutted by a massive fire on Monday, is insured with a pension fund for P604 million.

Republic Act 656 or the “Property Insurance Law” requires all government agencies, except certain local governments, to insure against any insurable risk their properties, assets, and interests with the General Insurance Fund (GIF), as administered by the GSIS.

“Pati nga Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects na may insurable interest ang gobyerno ay dapat nakaseguro sa GSIS,” the Bicolano senator added.

Escudero noted that in 2018, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued Circular 2018-002, exhorting all government agencies to comply with the law, after it had found out that there were still government properties not insured with the GIF, or not adequately insured.

“Noong 2021, gumasta ang Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) ng P21 million para sa lahat ng uri ng insurance premiums,” he said. “Sa kasalukuyang taon, ang fire insurance premiums nito ay nakapaloob sa P25.8 million budget para sa sari-saring taxes, duties and licenses, Insurance, fidelity bond premiums and other fees.”

The veteran legislator said filing insurance claims should be started immediately to finance the rehabilitation of the ill-fated Post Office building.

At the same time, Escudero called on all government agencies and instrumentalities to heed the COA memorandum and ensure that their assets and properties are insured with GSIS in compliance with RA 656.

“Ang nangyari sa Post Office ay nakakalungkot pero mabilis rin natin itong maitatayong muli. Salamat at tiniyak ng mga kinauukulan na ito ay nakaseguro sa GSIS. This is a reminder and a lesson for all government agencies and GOCCs (Government-owned and Controlled Corporations),” he said. (ai/mtvn)

Leave a Reply