By Nora Sorino
Iligan City Bureau Chief .
National Steel Corporation Technical Working Group chair lawyer Voltaire Rovira on Monday said a potential investor has signified willingness to put up as much as P35 billion budgets to include the feasibility study, acquisition, rehabilitation and all the other things connected with the plant’s operations.
Aside from Australian investor, Rovira said among the parties present during the recent meeting in Cebu City were Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia, Acting City Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, Councilor Noli Pardillo, himself and 3 other lawyers from working group, and liquidator, Atty. Danilo Concepción and his party.
At the start Rovira said there were disagreements about the plant ownership, But later, decided to set aside the issue, as it was involved the courts and even all the way to the Supreme Court.
“The prospective investor is willing to put up as much as P35 billion, out of it, the liquidator would get around P11 Billion, that seemed to satisfy Concepcion,” Rovira said.
It can be recalled that the liquidator represents 10 creditor banks led by the Philippine National Bank which has not been paid until the plant collapsed under the weight of its debts even as the city claims over P4 billion in unpaid realty taxes too, hence its subsequent levying of its assets by the city.
Rovira added the plant had stopped operations for good in June 10, 2010.
The liquidator opposed the said levy in 2016 but the city insisted in occupying the over 400 hectare area of the plant and even held a flag raising ceremony inside the plant, last year.
Both had gone to courts over the matter of ownership.
Earlier, in 2017, the city did an inventory of the assets of the plant for the incoming of investors.
There are about 4 prospective investors who had expressed “serious” interest on said plant. And if reopened, it would use the ‘corex’ technology, or the integrated steel manufacturing.
The other prospective investors are Japanese, Singaporean and Chinese, it was learned.
One area which had baffled the NSCWG was the question of where the titles to said area of the NSC as it should have been with the PNB.
“It is not with said bank (PNB),” Rovira said.
With their research teams according to Rovira were able to find out that the titles are with Sterling Bank, the operator of Treasure Steel which had rented an area of NSC.
“It had been “delinquent” in payment of the rent,” Rovira said adding: “They are acting on it, especially the retrieval of the said titles,” Rovira explained