THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said state firms which it oversees remitted P19.3 billion worth of dividends to the national government this year, up 73.87%, after government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) were tapped to provide advance funding to help contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld in a phone message that the higher dividends represent the DoTr’s “response to the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to support the government spending measures” in response to the pandemic.

In a statement, the department said that it turned over a total of P52.7 billion in dividends from transport GOCCs between 2017 and 2020: P10.1 billion in 2017, P12.2 billion in 2018, P11.1 billion in 2019, and P19.3 billion in 2020.

The DoTr said the P19.3 billion total dividends that it handed over in advance to the Bureau of the Treasury were supplied by eight GOCCs.

The department said P6 billion was provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, P6 billion by the Manila International Airport Authority, P5 billion by the Philippine Ports Authority, P1 billion by the Light Rail Transit Authority, P500 million by the Cebu Ports Authority, P500 million by the Mactan-Cebu International Airports Authority, P140 million by the North Luzon Railways Corp., and P130 million by Clark International Airport Corp.

“Under the law, all Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) are mandated to remit in full their respective minimum dividends to the Treasury on or before 15 May of each year,” the DoTr said.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said: “It’s important for us to realize the urgency of turning over in advance our respective dividends. The President has directed his administration to generate funds to help the country cope with the pandemic. And this is our way of showing how eager we are to help by doing our obligations.” — Arjay L. Balinbin