THE GOVERNANCE Commission on government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) or GCG has recommended to the President taking casino operations away from industry regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).
The commission said in a statement on Wednesday that the recommendation emerged after a review of 12 state-run firms identified to have competitive neutrality issues.
“The Governance Commission has reviewed the mandates of 12 GOCCs in relation to competitive neutrality issues, as part of its commitment to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022. Among the 12 is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) which the GCG has recommended to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for separation of commercial and regulatory functions due to its conflicting proprietary activities and regulatory functions,” the GCG said in a statement.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said in October that a sub-group will be created under the Privatization Management Office to draft a privatization plan for PAGCOR’s casinos.
He has said that he plans to put the casinos up for auction this year.
“The Governance Commission will be working closely with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Justice (DoJ), and the Department Trade and Industry (DTI) to review the mandates of GOCCs, and recommend and initiate privatization or transfer of regulatory functions to the appropriate government agency,” it added.
The GOCC said that there should be a “level playing field” between state-run firms and their counterparts in the private sector.
The commission oversees 123 operating GOCCs.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia has also noted conflicts in the regulatory and commercial functions of the National Food Authority (NFA) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Republic Act No. 10149 or the GOCC Governance Act of 2011, authorizes the GCG to recommend to the President “dispositive action,” when competitive neutrality conflicts arise. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan