Legarda opposes moves to privatize Manila Central Post Office | Inquirer News

Legarda opposes moves to privatize Manila Central Post Office

/ 12:24 PM February 13, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Loren Legarda on Tuesday dismissed suggestions to privatize the Manila Central Post Office, stressing that the building should remain owned by the Filipino people.

During the first hearing of the special committee on the rehabilitation of Manila Central Post Office, officials from the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) and government cultural agencies bared that there have been attempts from private businesses to purchase the building that was gutted by a massive fire in May 2023.

READ: Manila Central Post Office fire: At least 7 hurt, P300M assets lost – BFP


“The issue of privatization somehow scares me because once you give the hand, they may want the body […] so for now, no,” Legarda, who led the special committee hearing, told the officials.


PhilPost’s Postmaster General Luis Carlos said that PhilPost owns the central post office building while the land it was built on is owned by the national government.

“There are too many malls and high-rise hotels, tama na (it’s enough),” the senator said upon hearing suggestions that the historic building may be converted into other profit-generating businesses.

But Commissioner Jeremy Barns of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines assured the senator that such attempts have already been reviewed and turned down.

Meanwhile, in her opening statement, Legarda said that the 97-year-old building is a testament to the country’s national identity and tangible ties to its past.

The Manila Central Post Office bears the title of being a National Historical Landmark and was also designated as an Important Cultural Property.

Culture over profit


The subject of allowing private businesses to purchase the Manila Central Post Office stemmed from PhilPost’s concerns of falling short of its mandate to generate profit upon the building’s rehabilitation and eventual reuse.

Barns revealed that the previous suggestion to turn the post office into a mixed-use cultural center after its rehabilitation, with only a part of it serving as PhilPost’s office, would not help the government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) earn money.

To this, Legarda assured the GOCC that the national government would assist it in staying in business.

“This belongs to the Filipino people. I know that you are a GOCC and you may need assistance…but my position is, I would like it to be shared,” the senator stressed, saying that privatizing the post office may mean that it will no longer be open to the general public.

“It does not matter how many hundreds of millions you may need, the national government would help you in a transparent, zero corruption manner which prioritizes culture […] not earning profit. Let’s not let greed and profit overwhelm us,” Legarda continued.

READ: Manila Central Post Office gets P15M for repair

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The senator and officials present at the hearing had a consensus that a budget from the national government for the rehabilitation of the post office will be included in the 2025 General Appropriations Act after studies on the building’s structural integrity have been completed.

TAGS: Legarda, Loren Legarda, Post office

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