Press Release
August 17, 2010

"1 GOCC spent P391M for entertainment"

Government corporations racked up in P682 million in entertainment bills in 2008, led by the Central Bank whose P391 million "representation" tab was 14 times bigger than what the government's biggest agency - the Department of Education- incurred in the said year.

Sen. Ralph Recto said the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas' audited "representation and entertainment expense" was thrice than what all our diplomats in more than 80 foreign posts spent for the same purpose two years ago.

The BSP's nearly P400 million entertainment tab " was also almost four times than what the many offices in the Office of the President spent for dinners, receptions cocktails, and meetings," Recto said.

Citing a Commission on Audit report, Recto said the Office of the President spent P108 million for "representation and entertainment" in 2008, while the Department of Foreign Affairs, P120 million.

The DepEd, the bureaucracy’s biggest agency both in budget and manpower, shelled out a “trifling P26 million” in representation expense for all its half-a-million workforce , Recto said.

In all, the national government coughed up P1.4 billion in representation allowance for its mid-level and top echelon officials.

On the other hand, the "alphabet soup" of government corporations spent P682 million in what the CoA officially labeled as "representation and entertainment " expense.

Next to the BSP in the roll of big spenders was the worker-funded Social Security System (P64.9 million); Home Development Mutual Fund (P48.6 million); Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (P22.6 million); Government Service Insurance System (P16.8 million) ; Philippine Postal Savings Bank (P14.6 million).

Per the CoA count, the six accounted for 81 percent of total representation expenditures in the government corporate sector.

Despite revealing the "wining and dining" expense of government-owned firms, Recto said he was not yet ready to "render a value judgement" on whether the monies used for "power lunches and dinners" were "not well spent."

"My charitable view is that perhaps the nourishment they got from these meetings kept our economy afloat, mitigated recession, and stimulated the economy," he said.

Recto also stressed that most of the 79 GOCCs audited by the CoA for their representation and entertainment were quite frugal when its comes to "networking expenses."

The case of the big spenders was the exception, not the rule, the senator said.

"Livelihood Corp. spent P49,000, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies was parsimonious with a bill of P99,000 for one year , and Cebu Ports Authority was thrifty having spent P2,000 only," he said.

Overall, the GOCCs were judicious in so far as this aspect of expenditure is concerned, he said.

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