Cebu News

GOCC dividends eyed to fund Bayanihan 3

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu First District Rep. Eduardo Gullas said that additional cash dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) can help fund House Bill 8628 or the Bayanihan to Arise as One Act otherwise known as Bayanihan 3 Bill.

Gullas, a member of the House appropriations committee, said that Bayanihan 3 bill seeks to stimulate the economy with P420 billion in subsidies to families, businesses, workers, farmers as well as students and teachers adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The legislator said that the P420 billion in financial support is broken down into P108 billion in social amelioration for households; P100 billion in capacity-building assistance for badly affected businesses in critical economic sectors; P70 billion in aid for farmers; P52 billion in wage subsidies for workers in small businesses; P30 billion in grants to displaced workers; P30 billion in internet access allowances for students and teachers; P25 billion for COVID-19 treatment and vaccines; and P5 billion for the rehabilitation of communities distressed by recent typhoons and floods.

Gullas said under the current Republic Act 7656 – GOCCs are required to declare as cash dividends and remit to the national treasury at least 50 percent of their (prior year’s) net earnings.

However, the President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Finance, may increase the dividend payout to any rate higher than 50 percent for all covered GOCCs.

“Despite the COVID-19 crisis, a number of GOCCs are still making good money and are in a position to pay out incremental dividends to the national treasury,” said Gullas in a statement.

Gullas cited the case of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which has been swamped by private corporations applying and paying for new licenses to establish digital banking and electronic money platforms amid the dramatic shift to online transactions.

Gullas, citing data from the Department of Finance, said that 57 GOCCs paid an aggregate of P157 billion in cash dividends to the national treasury in 2020.

The top 15 dividend contributors were the BSP (P40.53 billion);  Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (P17.98 billion); Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (P17 billion); Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (P12 billion); Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (P6 billion); Manila International Airport Authority (P6 billion); Philippine Ports Authority (P5.05 billion); Philippine National Oil Co. (P5 billion); Philippine Reclamation Authority (P4.4 billion); National Power Corp. (P4 billion); Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (P2.27 billion); PNOC Exploration Corp. (P2 billion); Philippine Economic Zone Authority (P2 billion); Bases Conversion and Development Authority (P1.17 billion); and Clark Development Corp. (P1.13 billion).

In a separate statement, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said that the country’s economic managers are now studying potential funding sources for Bayanihan 3.

The proposed bill, Velasco said, is seen as a “lifeline” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to cripple the economy and the livelihood of millions of Filipinos.

HB 8628 is now pending before the House Committee on Economic Affairs, which created a technical working group to consolidate all Bayanihan 3-related measures.

Velasco expects that the Bayanihan 3 will be approved by the committee before the House resumes session on May 17.   So far, Velasco’s Bayanihan 3 Bill has got the majority of its members either as principal authors or co-authors. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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