House to probe excessive allowances for GOCC execs

By Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 21 2014 09:07 AM | Updated as of Jan 21 2014 05:09 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives will conduct an inquiry into the alleged unauthorized and excessive allowances for officials of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) with the aim of coming up with guidelines for compensating executives of GOCCs, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday.

Belmonte said there have been differing opinions on whether the salaries and bonuses given to the GOCCs were proper or not.

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier listed at least 10 GOCCs that had been asked to refund the government of the bonuses and allowances given to their officials, namely Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (P1.65 billion), Development Bank of the Philippines (P216.8 million), Region 7 water districts (P186.5 million), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (P54.8 million), Philippine Economic Zone Authority (P48.5 million), Home Development Mutual Fund (P37.6 million), Butuan City Water District (P28.2 million), Development Academy of the Philippines (P23.8 million), Philippine National Oil Co. Exploration Corp. (P14.5 million), and Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (P14.4 million).

“I think we have to do that (congressional inquiry) not because anything is wrong,” Belmonte told reporters.

“What exactly are the criteria for determining the bonus? What is the basis of the COA for saying that it is excessive? And what is the basis of the executive that it is okay? I am not really aware of any guidelines on these,” he said.

He also asked clarification on the role of the Governance Commission on GOCCs on the issue.

He recalled that when he sat on the board of the Government Service Insurance System in the past, Malacañang set guidelines on their compensation.

“We can always come up with reasonable guidelines for the benefit of everybody in a way people will not feel they are unduly deprived,” Belmonte said.

He said it is important for Congress to determine “what is reasonable, what is allowable and who will determine all of these.” Belmonte said there is no law that defines compensation for GOCC officials.