The Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG) has to oversee more than 100 GOCCs.
Republic Act 10149 or the “GOCC Governance Act of 2011” states that GCG has three appointive members of the Commission, a chairman and two commissioners, and two ex-officio members who are the Finance Secretary and the Budget and Management Secretary.
Both Commissioners Gideon DV. Mortel D.C.L. and Geraldine Marie Berberabe-Martinez had experience working in a GOCC. This helped pave the way for their smooth transition to their current posts at GCG.
COMMISSIONER ATTY. GIDEON DV MORTEL
He was a working student from his college days up to the time he finished his Doctor of Laws. GCG Commissioner Atty. Gideon DV Mortel’s first job was as an administrative officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs. When he passed the Bar, he joined a law firm in Makati where he handled all kinds of cases.
“I also worked at the Senate where I served as head of the Legal Office or the Prosecution and Investigation Service of the Senate of the Philippines. The Senate President at that time was Sen. Manny Villar,” Mortel recounted.
Prior to joining GCG, he served as Committee Secretary or the Secretary General of the Constitutional Commission under Justice Reynato Puno during the time of President Rodrigo Duterte. He handled 70 to 80 secretariats with around 15 to 20 lawyers under him.
Mortel related that he was familiar with the work of the GCG because he was at the Senate when Republic Act 10149 was being crafted.
“In fact, I had a view of the law. I was even asked to look into the law and to give my comments. So I gave my few centavos worth of commentary which I think helped the final version of the law,” he said.
He added that he also worked in the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), which happens to be a GOCC.
“Since the Development Academy of the Philippines is a GOCC, it has a reportorial requirement with the GCG. I was at the management level of the GOCC so this helped me really with my work here at GCG. Now, I am with GCG and I am monitoring the GOCCS,” Mortel added.
As a commissioner of GCG, Mortel has a lot of assignments, including the Performance Evaluation System and the Corporate Governance Scorecard. One of the tools of the Performance Evaluation System is the Performance Target Conference.
“The Performance Target Conferences are annual high-level meetings between the GOCC CEO and the Governance Commission for the setting of the final target of the GOCC,” Mortel explained.
The Performance Target Conferences aim to improve the performance of the GOCC by assessing whether they achieved the targets set for the previous year. The conference also provides an opportunity to establish new baselines and targets. The GCG and the GOCCs use an established performance evaluation system to monitor the yearly performance results of GOCCs.
“Our task here is to ensure that the targets the GOCCs are setting are not too low and not too high. If it is too high, it is not intended to be achieved and hence, useless. So we ensure that these scorecards will actually help the government by ensuring that the P10 trillion assets of the GOCCs in total will not be dissipated,” he said.
The GCG utilizes a balance scorecard approach where the GCG measures GOCCs in terms of social impact, financials, customers and stakeholders, internal process and learning growth.
“The performance scorecard is prepared by the GOCC and then reviewed and approved by the GCG. The GCG may increase targets as necessary to push GOCCs to achieve breakthrough results and support national development policies and programs. The targets of the GOCCs must be aligned with the Philippine Development Plan and it must also cater toward the socioeconomic agenda of the present dispensation,” Mortel explained.
All these scorecards and other relevant information of the GOCCS are encoded into the ICRS or the Integrated Corporate Reporting System. It was created to serve as the central source of relevant information on GOCCs and serves to simplify the various reportorial requirements for GOCCs.
“We have an office that is assigned to that. When all the data is in the system, we have people who will analyze the submissions. We do not take these submissions hook, line and sinker. We conduct our own validation which could either be onsite or it could be a surprise one,” Mortel said.
This April, the GCG and the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) signed a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) highlighting the adoption of a synchronized framework in determining client satisfaction across the GOCC Sector to ensure continuous improvement and enhancement of service to the Filipino people.
“The Customer Satisfaction Survey serves to integrate direct citizen participation in the performance evaluation of GOCCs by giving weight to their experience as customers,” Mortel said.
“At least 80 percent of the customers of a GOCC must be satisfied with its services. Otherwise, it automatically receives a zero score for this performance indicator,” he added.
Another program the GCG is working on is the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Program. It focuses on procurement, disposition of properties and bonuses, allowances and incentives of GOCCs. It also includes the creation of a GOCC Anti-Corruption Task Force. The program will safeguard the P10 trillion in total assets of the GOCC sector and prevent the dissipation and wastage of public funds arising from corruption.
“Through this program, the GCG will make the GOCC personnel accountable for procurement inefficiency due to corrupt practices. The governance commission will also hold GOCC officers accountable for granting unauthorized allowances, benefits and incentives in evident bad faith,” Mortel said.
CULTURE OF EFFICIENCY
While he has been working in government for most of his career, Mortel is looking forward to going back to private practice in five years’ time. For now, he tries to keep up with Quiroz’s work schedule. The chairman reports for work as early as 7 a.m. every day and Mortel makes sure that he is in the office by 7 or 7:10 am.
“And at the end of the day we are still working because of the magnitude of the paper work, meetings and attending to the submissions of the different GOCCs. Our chairman does not want any delays so we try to resolve all concerns as quickly as possible,” he said.
Mortel added that Quiroz, who is a retired judge, has the culture of efficiency and wants to make sure that there is nothing pending on his table. He also takes time to look into every GCG department.
“His singular objective is to give his fullest participation in the office which can serve as his legacy. As part of the GCG, he was able to contribute in ensuring that the GOCCs, particularly its officials, will not abuse the government funds,” he said.
COMMISSIONER ATTY. GERALDINE MARIE BERBERABE-MARTINEZ
She started her career working in a non-governmental organization for women’s rights and was inspired by basic human rights advocacy. A native of Batangas City, GCG Commissioner Atty. Geraldine Marie Berberabe- Martinez wanted to give back to her kababayans so she went home and practiced law.
“Politics then became an option as I come from a political family. My father, Conrado ‘Dado’ Berberabe was former Mayor of Batangas City. We passed several laws uplifting the plight of women when I was in the Provincial Board and focused on health. PhilHealth was just established at that time and I readily pushed for the coverage of my kababayans under the PhilHealth program,” Martinez related.
She was in the private sector working as a consultant of Euromed Laboratories when she was offered the position of GCG Commissioner. For Martinez, it was an opportunity for her to render service to the country, just like her parents. Martinez’s mother was a medical officer of the GSIS for 32 years.
“When the opportunity to be part of the Governance Commission presented itself, I willingly sought it. Having worked in different GOCCs before, it appeared challenging now to be a part of the oversight body regulating these GOCCs. Also, my parents inspired me as they were both government workers. Service to the country is always a welcome option,” she said.
Martinez pointed out that she was a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) when RA 10149 was passed. This experience made it easier for her to understand a GOCC’s perspective when they have questions for the GCG.
“Having also held both elective and appointive positions in government, I have a wider scope of understanding of the bureaucracy and a polished set of social skills to deal with different personalities we meet,” Berberabe-Martinez said.
“Having worked in the Senate, I likewise have an understanding of legislation and its processes. Experiences from previous work—both in government and the private sectors—contribute much to the set skills I have which I use for my duties as Commissioner of the GCG,” she said.
As GCG Commissioner, Berberabe-Martinez directly oversees the Corporate Standards Office which has three divisions – Operations and Compensation Standards Division, Performance Standards Division and Selections and Nominations Division. She also oversees the Administrative and Finance Office for proper compliance with government laws and issuances.
According to Berberabe-Martinez, the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) is among the many matters frequently discussed by the GCG with the GOCC. It is a mechanism mandated by RA 10149 to promote a standardized compensation package and an index of occupational services for GOCC officers and employees.
“The goal of the CPCS is to develop a competitive compensation and remuneration system that will attract and retain talent while allowing GOCCs to remain financially sound and sustainable. The CPCS also seeks to eliminate any excessive, unauthorized, illegal or unconscionable allowances, benefits and incentives through rationalization policies,” Martinez explained.
Another task that Martinez carries out is the “vetting, selection and nomination of the members of the board of directors of the GOCCs.” Here, the GCG makes use of the Fit and Proper Rule which refers to the standard for determining whether a member of the Board of Directors/Trustees or CEO is fit and proper to hold a position in a GOCC.
“The moment there are disqualifications incurred by the members of the board, it is our duty to ensure that they will not be nominated to the Office of the President. The members of the board, including the CEOs, must come from the list or nominees submitted by the GCG to the Office of the President. From that list, the President will choose,” Martinez explained.
The GCG issued a memorandum last April 18 for incumbent and acting CEOs and members of the GOCC Government Board whose terms are expiring on June 30 to submit to GCG a letter of intent and other documentary requirements if they wish to be considered for reappointment.
These requirements include, among others, an Appointive Director Data Form, endorsement letter from the sectoral group that the incumbent represents, and clearances from the Civil Service Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan and the National Bureau of Investigation.
“The GCG may nominate Appointive Directors for reappointment by the President. A set of performance criteria is used to determine whether incumbents are eligible for reappointment. To qualify, nominees must obtain a performance score of above average or its equivalent or higher in the immediately preceding year of their tenure as Appointive Directors,” she said.
While the tasks at hand may be challenging, Martinez said the GCG strives hard to provide all the necessary tools for the GOCC’s faithful compliance with the law.
“Under the leadership of Chairman Quiroz, the GCG has opened its doors for easy communication and speedy resolution of queries from the GOCCs. We will continue to monitor the performance of the GOCCs so they can contribute effectively and efficiently to the development of our country,” Martinez said.