THE Commission on Audit (COA) reports every year the compensation of government officials, including the principal officers and members of the boards of government-owned-or-controlled corporations and their subsidiaries.
The report divides compensation into basic salary; personnel economic relief allowance/additional compensation (PERA/AdCom); allowances, bonus, incentives and benefits; extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (EME); and other allowances.
COA, it seems, or the government as a whole, has made compensation so complicated because the pays and perks could have been simplified by dividing them into basic salary and other pays and perks, or OPPs. But it did not, because in government, every additional pay should have a name. In the case of COA’s compensation report, it also contains “others.”
In 2010, COA even included intelligence fund not under “others,” but as a separate item in a government official’s compensation. But the inclusion was only temporary.
COA said in a 2011 report that it was deleting “the intelligence funds and confidential funds as there are incurred for the maintenance of peace and order and other home defense programs and activities,” because “these do not accrue to the personal benefit of the public official concerned . . .”
True enough, COA’s report in 2011 and 2012 contained nothing on intelligence funds.
Incidentally, two ranking executives of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) were the only ones credited by COA with intelligence funds. COA included P283.2-million intelligence fund in the P287.4-million compensation of Efraim Genuino, former Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer.
Computed, the intelligence fund credited by COA to Genuino’s compensation was equivalent to 98.5 percent of total. The former Pagcor chief received only P473,407 in basic salary in six months in 2010; P8,950 in PERA; P905,005 in allowances; P1.2 million in bonus, incentives and benefits, for a total of P6.6 million. In 2009, he received a total of P3.7 million.
Cristino Naguiat, Genuino’s replacement and successor appointed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, received P69.2 million, divided into basic pay, P476,016; PERA, P8,950; allowances, P909,000; bonus, incentives and benefits, P1.2 million and discretionary and EME, P306,652.
On top of basic salary and other pays in 2010, COA said Naguiat also received P66.2-million intelligence fund for a six-month period of the same year. The added amount is equivalent to 95.766 percent of his total remuneration of P69 million.
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As general manager of Angeles City water district, Reynaldo Liwanag received a total compensation of almost P5 million in 2011. The following year, his total pay and perks increased by 32.7 percent to P6.6 million. Translated into peso term, the percentage would be equivalent to P1.6 million.
How does Liwanag’s compensation compare with those of other government executives?
The comparison should show the gap in salaries and benefits of government officials. Here is one illustration: Liwanag’s pay increase of P1.6 million in 2012 alone topped by P105,655 the amount of P1.5 million Caesar Saloma received as chancellor of the government-owned University of the Philippines-Diliman.
In short, Liwanag’s gross pay as a water district manager in 2012 was 4.4 times that of Saloma.
Incidentally, Liwanag was ahead of Saloma only on the total compensation. As detailed in a report prepared by the Commission on Audit, the UP chancellor’s basic salary of P923,868 in 2012 topped by 30.282 percent more, or P214,738.
Liwanag, on the other hand, got more in other pays and perks including P5.3 million in discretionary funds.
With his compensation of P6.6 million and P6 million, Liwanag was the government’s 18th highest paid executive in 2012 and 17th in 2011. His predecessor, Romeo Calara, who received P15 million, was no. 4 in 2010.
While a number of water district general managers and other officials enjoyed huge salaries, 17 of them worked for free in 2012 while the lowest paid among received only P240.
In COA’s compensation ranking, most, if not all, water district officials, except the millionaires and those who earn from P500,000 to P999,000, are at the bottom of the list.
The numbers collated by COA should be a must-read for government policy makers, because they show the widening the gaps between the rich and the poor towns served by the Local Utilities Administration. The water districts that can afford to pay in millions do so. But are they as profitable as the compensation of their general managers and other officials suggest?