DOTr welcomes Uy firm’s waiving of P35M rent for floating hospital
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday took up the cudgels for businessman Dennis Uy who was supposedly “unfairly dragged by media” when it was announced that government is willing to pay P35 million for the use of his company’s ships to serve as floating quarantine hospitals.
In a statement, the DOTR took exceptions to “insinuations” that there was irregularity in the negotiation for the rental of the ships, owned by logistics firm, 2Go Group Inc., of which Uy sits as chairman of the Board of Directors.
The presidential pal is also the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Udenna Corporation, a holding company with a diverse business portfolio.
According to the DOTR, initial negotiations with the company pegged the rent at P120 Million, but after negotiations, it eventually went down to P35 Million for the two 2 vessels for a 2-month term, “taking into consideration vessel operating expenditures such as its fuel, electricity, water, maintenance, supplies, and actual salaries of manpower of the crew and hotel staff to effectively run the ship, and equating it with bed space usage.”
“This should also clarify that at no time did (DOTR Sec. Arthur) Tugade meet, talk, and discuss this matter directly with 2Go Chairman Dennis Uy, as negotiations were made through the proper channels,” the statement read.
Quoting Tugade, the DOTR further said that “if it was the best offer under the circumstances, he is amenable to it, but it will be without prejudice to further concessions he will attempt to seek from ownership.”
“It is therefore unfortunate and deplorable that Mr. Dennis Uy was unfairly dragged by media and was at the receiving end of negative commentaries, when he was never part of the discussion, and was not even mentioned by Secretary Tugade in his interview,” it added.
Shortly after Tugade revealed that the government was set to pay the said amount to 2GO, Uy announced that he is waiving the rental fees for the two ships that were converted into quarantine facilities for suspected COVID-19 patients.
The DOTr commended the decision and thanked the Davao-based businessman and 2GO “for their generosity and upholding their social responsibility.”
“This is a most welcome development, and this magnanimity of Mr. Dennis Uy and 2Go all the more reinforces the BAYANIHAN spirit that prevails in this monumental effort of both government and the private sector to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the DOTr said.
The DOTr noted that the initial rate quoted for the two-month rent of the ships was P120 million before the negotiating panel agreed at the “best offer” of P35 million, considering the expenses of running the passenger vessels. No payment has been made to the shipping and logistics firm.
The government has converted several convention centers and sports facilities into isolation sites, while private hotels were turned into quarantine facilities for repatriated Filipinos abroad who are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
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