Philippine GOCC commission starts overhaul task

2 November 2011

By Diane Claire J. Jiao

COMMISSION created to overhaul the operations of state firms has met for the first time, a Cabinet official said, beginning a process expected to streamline the government’s overall structure.

The Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said last week, “just held its first meeting. The general aim is to improve the governance of GOCCs by reviewing their current functions and addressing redundancies.”

Developmental state firms will be monitored since some have overlapping functions, he said, with performances to be reviewed to ensure that responsibilities are performed.

The GOCC commission will also strengthen the oversight powers of regulatory state firms over offices in their jurisdiction, Mr. Abad added. “On the flipside, if they have exclusive functions, we will also review if these are of use to them,” he said.

In a speech at an investment summit for global fund managers last week, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the government aimed to privatize state firms that currently perform commercial functions, while those that handle government functions could be absorbed.

“Those in between will have to be improved. There are those that act both as a regulator and an operator, and that is unfair. They also compete with the private sector, which we don’t want,” Mr. Purisima said.

Both Mr. Abad and Mr. Purisima sit in the five-man GOCC Commission. The other members are Angela Linao and Cesar Villanueva. A final seat remains vacant.

Mr. Abad said the commission also tackled administrative and organizational matters during its first meeting. Another meeting will be held this month to set the body’s scope and the direction, he added.

“The commission will be under the Office of the President. It will have a lean staff. It will tap experts in the government and the private sector,” Mr. Abad said.

The commission was established through the GOCC Governance Act of 2011 or Republic Act 10149 that was signed into law in May.

The law seeks to overhaul the existing GOCC structure. It also calls for the establishment of a Compensation and Position Classification System for GOCCs following reports that board members of several state firms were enjoying lucrative perks.

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