PRESIDENT Duterte hates gambling, which is being regulated by govern-ment through Pagcor, which it owns. Incidentally, the letter G in Pagcor stands for gaming, which is a misnomer.
WILL President Rodrigo Roa Duterte increase the salary of Andrea D. Domingo as head of the government-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor)?
Should he decide to be generous to her, he should not forget the officials of other government agencies and their rank-and-file workers, who do most of the jobs to make their immediate superiors look good to their bosses at the top.
The question is raised in the first paragraph in view of the small basic salary the government paid Cristino L. Naguiat Jr., despite occupying three posts in Pagcor under the previous administration compared with his counterparts in other state-owned corporations and government agencies.
In a report on the compensation of government officials for 2015, the Commission on Audit (COA) said Naguiat was a member and at the same time chairman of Pagcor’s board.
In addition, he was also the CEO. Despite these triple responsibilities, he received in 2015 only one compensation amounting to P7,778,352 of which P952,032 was his annual basic salary. The balance of P6,826,320 represented his other pays and perks during the year.
P113M a year?
If President Duterte wants to make the compensation of top government officials reflect their responsibilities, he would adjust it to the level what private companies pay their top executives.
A conglomerate, which Duediligencer prefers not to identify, paid in 2014 its chairman and CEO P113.654 million and its president and chief operating officer (COO) P105.337 million. The numbers resulted from a series of computations. Admittedly, they may not be exact but nevertheless approximate the compensation of the group’s two highest paid executives.
Would Mr. Duterte be able to match such pays and perks enjoyed by the executives in the private sector? If he could, he might want to start adjusting the compensation of Domingo without of course neglecting the officials and rank-and-file employees of Pagcor and other government agencies as well.
In a previous Duediligencer, I reported the compensation of Chairperson Teresita Herbosa of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Her gross compensation of P9,801,270 made her the third highest paid government official in 2015.
The highest paid official in 2015 was Amando M. Tetangco Jr., the governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), receiving P13,957,395. Only P508,101 separated his pays and perks from that of Robert G. Vergara, president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, with P13,449,294.
In terms of basic salary, Vergara was at the top with P7,402,320, or 55.0387 percent of total in 2015, while Herbosa stood second with P7,174,824, or 73.203 percent. Tetangco’s basic salary of P6,693,333 was equivalent to 47.955 percent of his total compensation.
The basic salaries of government officials are not necessarily commensurate with responsibilities. As BSP head, Tetangco oversees the operations of the banking system while Vergara sees to it that the contributions of GSIS members grow by investing them wisely.
In the case of Herbosa and the four other SEC commissioners, they were paid much more in 2015. Under the old Securities Regulation Act, which was replaced by the Securities Regulation Code in 2001, the SEC chairman used to get P35,000 a month, or P420,000 a year and the associate commissioners P25,000 a month or P300,000 a year.
President Duterte has been telling us not to destroy his country, which happens to be ours too. He hates gambling, which incidentally is being regulated by government through Pagcor although the letter G in Pagcor stands for gaming, which is a misnomer.
After all, Pagcor owns and operates e-gaming outlets in this country. Its own website describes one of its regulatory functions as the “issuance of licenses or authority to operate casinos, traditional and electronic bingo parlors, electronic game outlets, sport betting kiosks and poker rooks to private entities.”
As long as there is Pagcor, gambling stays with us. Casinos and the Pagcor-licensed gaming outlets are, in reality, forms of gambling sanctioned by the government.
Incidentally, what’s gaming to the government is “jueteng” to the older folks in the more remote areas. In the ancient times, the illegal two-number combination game accepted a bet as small as a half-centavo. How would you value a half-centavo today? Nothing, of course, but would be worth much valuable to a coin collector.