Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday suggested that lawmakers realign some of the P200-billion subsidies appropriated for 2021 to non-performing government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) to augment funds needed for the COVID-19 pandemic and disaster relief operations.
Gatchalian pointed out during a recent Senate budget hearing the continuing allocation in the proposed 2021 national budget of P201-billion as subsidies to 118 GOCCs that remitted only P47-billion dividends last year.
Earlier, GOCC Chair Samuel Dagpin, Jr. told the Senate finance subcommittee that some GOCCs have been recommended to be abolished due to underperformance.
One of them is the PNOC Renewables Corp. (PNOC-RC), a subsidiary of Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) as it has been operating at a loss for the past seven years.
As vice chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Gatchalian said he would recommend that PNOC stop giving any funds to PNOC-RC, except for the purpose of winding down its operations.
“I cannot, in my good conscience, endorse any new funds and I recommend to the management to start the proceedings of absorption, winding down and also probably liquidating or divesting the assets of PNOC-RC. That is my recommendation and we will proceed with that recommendation in plenary,” he said.
“There’s nothing personal here. This is in line with my mandate of representing the people and making sure that taxpayers’ money are well spent,” emphasized Gatchalian.
The senator said the government is badly in need of funds in preparation for any disaster that occur every year, plus the COVID-19 recovery efforts that are likely to continue through 2021 if a safe and effective vaccine has not yet been developed by that time.
“We have seen the recent destruction of typhoons Quinta and Rolly. Government resources are getting limited due to the coronavirus pandemic and have become more troublesome because of the devastation left behind by the recent spate of typhoons,” he stressed.