MANILA – Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday urged Malacañang to conduct an inventory of high-value assets owned by government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that continue to receive state subsidies and consider these for possible sale.
“There are a number of government-owned and -controlled corporations with real estate and other assets, but receive subsidies from the national government year in and year out, mainly because they are mismanaged – if not being used as cash cows by unscrupulous officials,” Lacson said in a statement. “An audit and inventory of all these assets should be conducted posthaste. The government should retain only those that generate revenue, and sell the rest.”
He said the “extraordinary time” of a global pandemic calls for “extraordinary measures”, such as selling these supposedly mismanaged GOCC assets.
“While it is a mark of a true leader to consider any measure – no matter how extraordinary – to save us all, proper and prudent steps must be taken in consideration of the country’s long-term survival, thus avoiding that future generations of Filipinos will be left with nothing,” Lacson said.
Last year, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III discounted the need to sell state assets because the government entered the pandemic on a strong fiscal position and there were government borrowings intended to finance the government’s response to the pandemic.
The budget used last year to finance coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) programs came from government savings, dividends from some government agencies, as well as borrowing from such multilateral partners as the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Last year, the government also signed an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for a PHP23.5 billion loan, the first-ever concessional loan that the agency approved for a country for Covid-19 emergency support. (PNA)