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Senate ratifies GOCC Governance Act of 2011

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The Senate finally ratified on Monday the bicameral conference committee report on the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 aimed at putting an end to the alleged excessive salaries and other abuses in government corporations.

GOCC stands for the Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations.

With only one negative vote from minority Senator Joker Arroyo, the lawmakers approved the report five days after the congressional bicameral conference committee reconvened to exclude the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) from the bill’s coverage.

Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the congressional oversight committee on public expenditures, said the bicameral panel members have agreed to remove MECO, Manila’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, for fear that its inclusion might affect the country’s bilateral relations which China and Taiwan.

However, Drilon clarified that although MECO has been excluded, he would still monitor the performance of the MECO officials with regards to the use of public funds.

Though organized under the corporation code as a private corporation, Drilon said MECO has been collecting public funds in which the excess funds are not turned over to the National Treasury.

Drilon is expecting President Benigno S. Aquino III to sign the bill into law before the sine die adjournment of Congress next week.

Under the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, a Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) shall be created to oversee GOCCs and government financial institutions (GFI) totalling to 156.

The GCG shall be responsible for the determination of the compensation, per diems, allowances, and bonuses of the members of the board of directors or trustees of the GOCCs.

However, Arroyo opposed the composition of the GCG which he said “betrays the tayo-tayo character.”

”The Commission (GCG) would recommend a short-list of replacements to the President who perforce must limit his choice only to those on the list of the GCG,” he said.

The GCG will be composed of the Budget secretary as chairman, the secretary of Finance, the director-general of NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and two others to be chosen by the top three.

Arroyo also said that the bill “is a blanket authority for the mass lay-off of 157 CEOs and 1,570 directors of the 157 GOCCs in the country." (PNA)




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