THE Department of Finance (DoF) said it will pursue talks to get the Commission on Audit (CoA) to relax its rules to facilitate speedier disposal of nonperforming government assets.

In a statement Tuesday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said he has instructed the Privatization Management Office (PMO) and the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) to discuss the matter with CoA and state-run banks.

“Tell them this CoA requirement that we sell at market value isn’t working because we just keep on adding to the titles particularly with the PDIC and we’re just getting overwhelmed,” Mr. Dominguez said.

“I want a meeting with the CoA, mainly with the representatives from PMO, PDIC, the banks, the two (government) banks. The central bank may want to participate,” according to Mr. Dominguez.

Mr. Dominguez said CoA Circular No. 89-296 issued 30 years ago requires the sale of nonperforming government assets at their appraisal value is hindered the disposal of idle properties.

According to Mr. Dominguez, it would be better for these assets to be sold at discounted prices to attract more buyers.

Mr. Dominguez noted that PMO has 28,000 land titles to dispose of while the PDIC has around 23,000.

“The objective is to ask CoA to cooperate with us and propose ways of turning these assets into cash, because cash helps the economy,” Mr. Dominguez said.

“Selling it even at a discount allows to be redeveloped and used. Right now, it’s just an expense,” Mr. Dominguez added.

The DoF said the PMO is not covered by the 30-year-old CoA circular. The CoA issued a memo earlier stating that “CoA Circular No. 89-296 does not apply to foreclosed assets held by PMO and sold in the ordinary course of business” and “the assets/properties held by the PMO pursuant to Proclamation No. 50 and sold in the regular course of its business are not within the purview of CoA Circular No. 89-296.”

The CoA said it had no comment on the matter as yet. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio