'Abolish 19 losing, scam-tainted GOCCs'

By Jess Diaz, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 03 2014 08:39 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2014 04:39 PM

MANILA - Two Mindanao lawmakers proposed yesterday the abolition of 19 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) for either losing money or being unnecessary.

Some of the state firms which Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Maximo of party-list group Abante Mindanao are seeking to abolish in Bill 3807 have been linked to the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

The scam-tainted GOCCs include the National Agribusiness Corp. and Zamboanga del Norte Rubber Estate Corp., which are under the Department of Agriculture, and Natural Resources Development Corp.-Philforest Corp., which is attached to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The other government firms the Rodriguez brothers want dissolved are the Batangas Land Co. Inc., Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel, BCDA Management and Holdings, Cottage Industry Technology Center, Freeport Service Corp., GY Real Estate Inc., Human Settlements Development Corp., Kamayan Realty Corp., Marawi Resort Hotel, Masaganang Sakahan, Inc., NDC-Infrastructure Corp., Northern Foods Corp., Philippine Aerospace Development Corp., Philippine Convention and Visitors Corp., Pinagkaisa Realty Corp. and the Trade and Investment Development Corp.

Bill 3807 provides that all officers and employees of these GOCCs should be given separation pay equivalent to their salary for two and a half months. The funds should be provided in the national budget.

The bill also sought to transfer the agencies’ functions to other government offices. The Departments of Finance and Budget and Management, and the Commission on Audit would be mandated to issue implementing rules and regulations.

“Consistent with the Aquino administration’s austerity measures, it is high time that the government remove the excess fat and spends only for things that are truly vital to the country,” the Rodriguezes said.

They said the government has around 120 GOCCs, many of which are unnecessary, underperforming and losing money.

However, the lawmakers said taxpayers are still paying for the expenses of these GOCCs, including the officers’ and employees’ salaries.

“This is aside from the P7.28 billion that the government extends to these state-owned subsidiaries as subsidies from January to May, or P2.25 billion more than the P5.03 billion recorded in the same period in 2013,” they said.

The lawmakers said these subsidies are booked as expenses and continue to put a strain on the government’s widening budget deficit.

Earlier, militant party-list groups led by Bayan Muna sought the abolition of the National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), a subsidiary of Land Bank of the Philippines, and Technology Resource Center (TRC) for involvement in the pork barrel scam.

The newest state witness, Dennis Cunanan, is deputy director general (on leave) of TRC.

Cunanan and NLDC president Gondelina Amata are among government officials and personnel facing plunder and other criminal charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.