Dominguez to PCIC: Bar self-serving consultants
PHILIPPINE Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III ordered members of the board of state-run PCIC not to allow foreign consultants to offer projects that would not benefit the agency and the farmers.
During the PCIC Board meeting in March, Dominguez pointed out that some projects offered by foreign consultants end up serving their own personal interests.
The Finance Secretary said the implementation and financing of projects should be determined by the PCIC board.
“We are the ones who determine what we need and we will be the one to select the funding,” Dominguez said. “So in the future, you will reject any approach that is not generated by this Board.”
Dominguez also asked the PCIC to ensure that the projects supported by foreign grants and loans are actually “demand-driven.”
He also suggested that all PCIC personnel be required to reject any offers of foreign travel, vehicles, additional compensation or other perks associated with implementing projects offered by consultants.
Dominguez also directed the Bureau of the Treasury to work with the Department of Budget and Management in determining how to rationalize PCIC’s budget to reduce its financial strain on the proposed national expenditure program (NEP) for Fiscal Year 2023.
According to Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano, many projects do not proceed after the pilot stages of their implementation.
“There are so many pilots that have been done. The problem is really up-scaling those pilots. And that’s the reason why we are stuck in this kind of underdeveloped status because we cannot upscale these things because it’s not demand-driven,” said Adriano, who represented Agriculture Secretary and PCIC Vice Chairman William D. Dar.
During the meeting, the Board also approved the corporate operating budget of the PCIC, subject to its recasting based on the discussions among the board members about the need to ease its strain on next year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA) by reducing the corporation’s premium subsidy allocation and its investments in government securities.
To help PCIC raise more funds from its marketing efforts instead of primarily being reliant on government subsidies, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President-General Manager Rolando L. Macasaet stressed the need for the PCIC to develop a program that would increase its income from premiums of paying clients.
Macasaet said PCIC regional managers and marketing personnel must be given targets “so that you can hit your goal of earning P598 million in premiums from paying clients and other sources.”
“At least, it wouldn’t come from GAA funds but from premiums so they will pay for their insurance cover,” Macasaet said.
National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon said these moves would not reduce the firm’s insurance capability as its investments in government bonds that would mature next year can be spent to increase its coverage to serve more farmers.
De Leon said the PCIC’s investments will also be reviewed to determine how the PCIC can find a better way to grow its funds and how much it can return to the national government in the form of dividends, considering that the Corporation has accumulated surplus equity of P1.1 billion.
Moreover, Dominguez also pushed for the removal of the budget for commission or incentives received by municipal employees, which the corporation lists as “honoraria, “ with an allocation of around P147 million in the PCIC budget, noting that this should instead be shouldered by local government units (LGUs).
According to Adriano, LGUs can afford to give these incentives given their increased share of the government’s national tax collections beginning this year due to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling.
Likewise, the Board approved during the meeting the PCIC’s updated High-Value Crops Operations Manual and Livestock Operations Manual, which both contained streamlined and standardized underwriting and claims processes to comply with the provisions of the Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Law.
Also approved were the PCIC’s simplified procedures for handling feedback and complaints, which were also updated to comply with the EODB Law, and its Compensation and Position Classification System.