YOU don’t have to be the president, chief executive officer or chairman of the board of state-owned corporations to land among the elite government millionaires. The reports on salaries of government executives posted on www.coa.gov.ph by the Commission on Audit show a surprising and probably intriguing entry. In its posting for 2013, COA listed the head of a water district among the well-paid government executives.
Water districts (WD), as Due Diligencer learned about them many years ago, were – and still are – organized by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), which taught WD would-be managers how to run independent suppliers of potable water in the rural areas not covered by what was then known as the National Water Sewerage Administration.
LWUA, indeed, has succeeded in training the administrators of its water districts not only in running their respective turfs but also in deciding how much they deserve for their efforts in making water districts profitable. Probably, this policy was what made the Angeles City water district generous to its top official.
As general manager of the city’s water district in 2013, Reynaldo C. Liwanag received P8.831 million, of which only P802,180 was his basic salary. The rest of the P8.0289 million went to his other pays and perks, of which P7.453 million, or 84.396 percent, was defined in a COA entry as discretionary fund.
With his close to P9 million compensation, Liwanag was No. 5 in the list of highest-paid government executives, even beating Cristino L. Naguiat Jr., who, as chairman and executive officer of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., got P8.108 million but did not even enjoy such perk as a discretionary fund.
Liwanag even topped the pays of Sarmiento, Pagcor president and chief operating officer, who in 2013 got P7.887 million; and three deputy governors of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, namely Diwa C. Guinigundo, P7.583 million; Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., P7.502 million; and Vicente S. Aquino, who used to head the secretariat of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, P7.415 million.
Indeed, Liwanag must be very lucky.
Here is a story about revenues and profits that should tell you that businessmen are in business only for money. Due Diligencer is not one to conclude that money is the root of all evil. Rather, it is too much love of it that should be the worry of one’s soul.
The above paragraph does not necessarily apply to GDC. But GDC’s stockholders and the members of its managing team should know that motorists and car owners paid them P1,200 in using their toll road. Four years ago, the company collected only P700. Just imagine the annual increase that GDC has imposed on its captive market of car owners.
GDC, by the way, is an acronym where G stands for Greenfield as in Greenfield Development Corp. But perhaps, its owners should know one thing: GDC should be a more responsible toll road operator as motorists are paying P1,200 in 2014 for the convenience of driving along a four-kilometer toll road to the Mamplasan entry of the South Luzon Expressway.
But do motorists enjoy such convenience?
It seems GDC forgot the purpose of the toll it collects. Due Diligencer does not care how GDC spent the car owners’ contributions to the company’s coffers it had collected, but wonders where the company was on July 17, the day after typhoon Glenda devastated Southern Luzon and other parts of the country.
Due Diligencer only wants to know how GDC people could sleep soundly while car owners who paid them P1,200 found themselves driving thru the company’s Mamplasan road blocked by tree branches felled by the typhoon’s strong winds.
If GDC’s owners want to know how patient were the car owners, they should be told that some drivers would get down their vehicles to pull the trees out of their way, allowing them and a hundred others behind them to pass thru.
Where were the GDC people? No one knows where they were on the morning of July 17 and if they cared at all whether hundreds of motorists found themselves stranded not by flood but by heavy traffic because of the almost impassable toll road the company failed to inspect after Glenda’s wrath that day.