PH to privatize UCPB, casinos

The Finance Department said Tuesday it plans to privatize more assets in three years, including United Coconut Planters Bank and casinos run by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

“Yes, there will be more assets to be unloaded,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told reporters.

Dominguez said the Duterte administration also planned to privatize casinos and the Philippine Postal Bank.

“I am sure those will be under consideration. Also the banks that we still have,” Dominguez said. 

The UCPB was placed under the supervision of the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation in March. 

The GCG said pending the effectivity of the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order against the privatization of the UCPB, the GCG will begin regulating the bank as a GOCC under the GOCC Governance Act of 2011.

The SC issued the TRO on June 30 last year, setting aside Executive Orders 179 and 180 signed by President Benigno Aquino III on March 2015.

The Aquino directives ordered the UCPB privatization and the reconveyance to the government of about P74.3 billion in coco levy funds.

The SC issued the TRO after a petition filed by the Confederation of Coconut Farmers’ Organizations of the Philippines Inc., which alleged the privatization would deny the coconut farmers of their right over the coco levy funds. 

UCPB was originally under the supervision of the Presidential Commission on Good Government when the agency was still litigating cases involving the bank. 

Former president Aquino approved the privatization of UCPB following the Supreme Court’s Jan 24, 2012 ruling that effectively made the bank a GOCC. 

Proceeds from the UCPB sale under Executive Order No. 179 would be used by the government for the benefit of the coco farmers. 

GCG said until the privatization is implemented, UCPB remains a GOCC that must comply with the corporate governance requirements. 

Compensation of UCPB personnel will also be regulated under the Compensation and Position Classification System for GOCCs.

The bank will also have to comply with the Government Procurement Reform Act and will be subjected to examination by the Commission on Audit like all other GOCCs. 

Dominguez, meanwhile, said the government would speed up the disposal process of Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. 

“I have just talked to the PSALM people and I told them that the original plan to PSALM was to get rid of the assets up to the first five years. That was 10 years ago. We have to speed up the disposal of the assets,” Dominguez said. 

He said Finance would still re-assess the valuation for the properties up for sale.

“I don’t believe their valuation because that’s all book value. We have to re-assess. We have to make a re-assessment of the current values,” Dominguez said. 

“I want to finish it in three years. I want to follow the original law,” he said.

Topics: Finance Department , United Coconut Planters Bank , privatize UCPB , casinos , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
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