STI Holdings Inc. said it is determined to take over the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) despite the Benitez group’s reluctance to relinquish its control of the school.
In a statement e-mailed to media over the weekend, the Eusebio Tanco-led STI Group said it will invest in PWU to improve the quality of education and school facilities.
“PWU has been in decline in all respects. The main campus in Manila is a testament of neglect, with leaking roofs, flooding, and poor laboratory facilities,” STI President Monico Jacob was quoted, as saying.
STI said the college’s student population was down to 2,000 from more than 12,000 at one time, one of the major reasons it lost P115 million in 2009 and 2010.
As of May 2010, PWU’s net losses was P374 million.
“We will fulfill the dreams of the students for a better school and better education. That is the bottom line of PWU’s legacy. We have the resources and the expertise to succeed where the previous owners failed. The students should get the education they paid for,” Jacob said.
“We bought the debt from the bank and became the creditor. So we helped the Benitez group keep control of PWU. But last month its key members asked for the rescission of its agreement with STI without offering to pay us a single centavo. Since they were actually in default with us just days after we bailed them out, we called in their resignations,” he added.
The dispute surfaced after the Benitez family failed to pay its accumulated debts to the STI in December last year. STI saved the school from foreclosure in November 2011 by shouldering the P923-million debt of PWU and its sister firm Unlad Resources Development Corp.
In return, STI was able to acquire PWU stocks.
The Benitezes also failed to put up the P250-million commercialization fund for the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) in Quezon City.
Because the family could not pay its debts, the Benitezes must step down as owners of PWU and JASMS, and STI was mandated to take over of the two universities, Jacob said.
The Benitez group said it was looking for ways to pay back STI and insisted it has not given up control of PWU and JASMS.