GOVERNMENT agencies should go slow on the abolition of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC) being implicated in the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) controversy because the move might also take away needed documents that could help in the ongoing investigation, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said that while he not against the abolition of the GOCCs in questioned, it would be better if the Department of Agriculture and other agencies would defer the abolition until the PDAF issue has been resolved.
He said there are several concerns that needs to the addressed first before the abolition takes place including the identification of agencies that will take over the function of the GOCCs and the one that will shoulder its debts if there are any.
Escudero was reacting to the pronouncement of Secretary Proceso Alacala, of the Department of Agriculture (DA), that five GOCCs, mentioned in the Commission on Audit (COA) special audit report, are set for abolition.
Alcala said two GOCCs that are first to be abolished are National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) and Zamboanga del Norte Agricultural College Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC).
Nabcor’s abolition is because of the huge unsettled obligations the agency incurred since the income being generated by the agency is not enough to pay its obligations.
As for ZREC, Alcala said that they have started the abolition process of the agency even before the COA report came out.
The DA decided to end ZREC’s operation because its functions are too small that is why it is being used in “irregularities”.
Alacala said there are three other GOCCs, that are also eyed for abolition and they are juts waiting for the completion of the study being conducted.
Meanwhile, Senate president Franklin Drilon noted that the move to abolish GOCCs can be done by the president and doesn’t require that approval of the congress,.
The authority of the president to abolish GOCC was given by the congress when it approved that GOCC Governance Act.
Under the law the President upon the recommendation of the (GGC) can order that abolition of GOCCs under certain standards.
“There is a legal basis to abolish them because from the way they are operating, these GOCCs, they provide sufficient grounds for the President to exercise his power under the GOCC Governance Act,” he pointed out. Jefferson Antiporda