The government of President Benigno Aquino 3rd received P32.31 billion in dividends and remittances collected in 2013 by 49 Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).
This compares with P29 billion remitted to the government in 2012 by 38 GOCCs, data from the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), the central advisory body that monitors and oversees the sector, shows.
Under Republic Act 7656, GOCCs are required to declare and remit at least half of their income as dividends to the national government.
According to the GCG, the LandBank of the Philippines had the highest dividends remitted at P6.298 billion, while the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. posted the highest total remittances of P9.791 billion.
Seven GOCCs are included in the elite class of contributors, or the so-called “Billionaires’ Club,” which have declared at least P1 billion in dividends.
This year’s Billionaires’ Club includes: the Development Bank of the Philippines, contributing P3.616 billion; Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management Corp., P2.5 billion; Bases Conversion Development Authority, P2.107 billion; Manila International Airport Authority, P1.577 billion; Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp., P1.5 billion; Philippine Ports Authority, P1.422 billion; and Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., P 1.05 billion.
Reform at GOCCs
In a speech during the 2014 GOCC Dividends Day, Aquino recalled that his administration’s detractors were pessimistic that reform in the GOCCs could be made, considering the extent of corruption in the government-owned companies.
Aquino said the P32.31 billion dividends remitted by the GOCCs under his government stood far better than the P96-billion worth of remittances during the nine-and-a-half years of the previous administration.
“The days when the GOCCs were used by a few as a source of cash to line their own pockets, when the GOCCs were the favorite hangout of the friends of those in power – those days are over,” Aquino said.
“We have instituted reforms, and as time passes the more we affirm this; the more we persevere in pushing these reforms to implement the needed change; the more we make it impossible for things to get back to the old ways of doing things,” he added.
In March, Aquino’s administration abolished 11 GOCCs.
Bigger social budget
In a separate statement, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that the P32.3 billion GOCCs dividends and remittances will help widen the country’s budgetary legroom for social and economic services, especially those related to post-calamity aid.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad underscored the notable increase in GOCC earnings this year, which amounted to P27.9 billion.
The budget agency confirmed that the GOCC dividends may be used to boost the government’s Unprogrammed Fund, which can, in turn, support rehabilitation efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“Restoring normalcy in Yolanda-stricken communities is still a priority for the Aquino administration, one that this year’s GOCC dividends can very well address. It’s not just a matter of ensuring the continued stability of the country’s economy or of preserving the soundness of our fiscal management strategy,” Abad said.
“It all comes down to bringing Yolanda’s victims back to their feet and helping them rebuild the lives and communities that the typhoon did so much damage to,” he added.