Lawmakers express opposing views on the sale of Camps Aguinaldo and Crame

MEMBERS of the House of Representatives offered different opinions with regards to the plan of selling Camps Crame and Aguinaldo for commercial purposes.

Rep. Hermilando Mandanas (2nd District, Batangas), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, thrashed out the proposal to privatize the two camps and vowed to file a bill declaring them as historical sites.

“These camps are symbols of Filipinos’ innate love for freedom and liberty and the embodiment of the ideals and aspirations rekindled by the EDSA revolution,” Mandanas said.

However, other lawmakers welcomed the proposal of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima saying that the proceeds from the sale of the military camps and other government properties could be used to finance other government projects.

Rep. Rodolfo Albano (1st District, Isabela) said the sale is most welcome if the proceeds will be used to speed up the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The proceeds from the sale could also be used to finance infrastructure projects, school buildings, housing projects for underprivileged families and others according to Albano.

Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, KABATAAN) has a different view, “the government should transform the camps into public parks, green parks or even housing site for government employees or better yet freedom parks since EDSA is site of two people power revolts.”

The two camps are among the prime government properties that the Aquino government is planning to privatize. The other assets include the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City, the Iwahig Penal Colony in Palawan, the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte and a 40-hectare property of the Health Department in Cebu.

Purisima said the Department of National Defense (DND) agreed that the two camps need to be redeveloped in order to build a better and much bigger location of a consolidated military facility and to modernize the Armed Forces. D’Jay Lazaro

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