You can’t just sell the yacht, Duterte told
PRESUMPTIVE President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to sell the presidential yacht—the BRP Ang Pangulo—will have to follow the process for disposing of government and military assets.
The military said the plan to dispose of the historic yacht which is operated by the Philippine Navy would have to undergo evaluation.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the issue had not been discussed at the military level.
“We have a procedure for disposing of military or government assets as prescribed by law. These regulations are in place to ensure that needed assets are not unnecessarily disposed of,” Padilla said.
He said an evaluation committee would be created to determine if such a sale was necessary.
Proceeds for veterans
Duterte announced his intention to sell the presidential yacht and use the proceeds for war veterans, to improve hospital facilities and raise doctors’ salaries so they wouldn’t leave the country.
Padilla explained that the President, as Commander in Chief of the military, was afforded these privileges (use of different types of vehicles) so he could perform his functions better.
“When the President or Commander in Chief assumes office, it is believed he is among the busiest persons in our land. Hence, his time is very, very important,” the AFP spokesperson said.
Another factor in dedicating vehicles to the President’s sole use is the issue of his security and safety.
Padilla said the issue of selling the Ang Pangulo was still “speculative” since the incoming president could change his mind after listening to advice from different quarters.
“The disposal of assets is a very defined procedure. This is in due regard of the value of the asset that is being utilized, and the amount of money that can be taken out of it for other purposes,” he said.
He added that although certain assets served a purpose, they didn’t fetch a high price due to depreciation.
Padilla noted that instead of selling such assets, these were sometimes still used because “it serves a bigger purpose in comparison to the depreciated value that it will sell for.”
The BRP Ang Pangulo was acquired in 1959 by the Philippine government as part of war reparations from Japan. Its first CIC was President Carlos Garcia.
It weighs 2,200 tons and has a length of 77 meters, with 5,000-horsepower engines.
President Ferdinand Marcos and his family used the yacht to party with their high society friends, as shown in the video that went viral after the Marcoses were forced to flee the country in February 1986.
President Corazon Aquino tried to sell the yacht in 1986 for $5.5 million to do away with a reminder of the past regime’s lavishness and extravagance. But there were no takers.
President Joseph Estrada had it refurbished at the expense of his friends and used it for floating mahjong sessions with them and members of his family.
During President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term, it caught fire while undergoing repairs. After a refurbishing, it was renamed the BRP Pag-asa.
The current President Aquino restored the name of the yacht: BRP Ang Pangulo.
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