GOCCs urged: Settle bonus issue with COA

By Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 20 2014 09:58 AM | Updated as of Jan 20 2014 05:58 PM

MANILA - A Malacañang-attached body has advised some 30 government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) which have been issued notices of disallowance to settle their problems with the Commission on Audit (COA).

Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) Chairman Cesar Villanueva particularly directed the state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) to resolve their issues with COA.

“We had directed the DBP governing board to resolve the matter with COA,” Villanueva said, referring to the report that the financial institution granted P216.8 million in bonuses in 2012 in violation of GCG’s formula provided for in Memorandum Circular 2012-11.

As it turned out, the state-owned bank obtained “approval from the Office of the President” on the compensation framework that provided for a performance-based incentive system.

“The records will show that the GCG had in fact confirmed the grant,” Villanueva said.

As for Pag-IBIG, COA directed the agency to return the P37.6 million that it paid to its employees who availed themselves of the early retirement incentive plan.

Pag-IBIG maintained the early retirement incentive plan was aboveboard.

“Pag-IBIG’s management has been instructed to sort out and resolve the matter with COA,” Villanueva said.

“Although the ERIP (early retirement incentive package) was granted prior to the constitution of GCG, we do confirm that it may constitute a valid separation package for officers and employees who are affected by a reorganization undertaken by a government policy,” he said.

Among the other GOCCs that were also told to thresh things out with COA were the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and the Veterans Foundation of the Philippines (VFP).

No specific amounts have been mentioned in the Sept. 2013 COA report. It was disclosed that none of these agencies have received their notice of disallowances, contrary to what has been reported in media.

“The GCG has directed their governing boards to clarify the matter with COA,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva also highlighted the fact that “not a single final notice of disallowance” has been covered in the COA report where it had an accumulated P2.3 billion in government funds that it wanted returned to national coffers.

“The GCG required all GOCCs in their 2013 Performance Agreements to submit concrete and time-bound action plans for addressing audit observations from COA in order that fitness of the members of the governing boards may already be evaluated,” he said.

Villanueva added that unauthorized grant of salaries, allowances, bonuses and benefits of these GOCCs occurred mostly in the nine-year administration (2001-2010) of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.