‘Investments made in good faith’; funds will be moved to DBP



MANILA, Philippines—Everything was done in good faith.

National Museum Chair Ramon del Rosario Jr. and Director Jeremy Barns said this in response to the Commission on Audit (COA) taking issue with the board of trustees’ handling of the museum’s P370-million endowment.

The COA, in a recent report, pointed out that the money, being public funds, should have been deposited in and managed by a government bank.


Fiscal autonomy

In an interview, Del Rosario and Barns explained that the board made the decision to have the funds managed by private financial institutions, BDO Private Bank and BPI Asset Management, in the belief that the National Museum had sufficient fiscal autonomy to do so.

“The board felt it was free to do this [based] on its reading of the law [creating the National Museum],” Barns said.

“The law stresses the special nature of the museum, its fiscal autonomy and the fact that it’s supposed to subscribe to best practices applicable to other institutions,” he said.

One such “best practice,” he said, was to have the museum’s funds invested by capable investment managers like BDO and BPI, the largest and third-largest banks in the country in terms of assets, respectively.

Barns—appointed museum director by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and reappointed by President Aquino on the recommendation of the current Del Rosario-led board—said the decision had proven beneficial since some P51 million in investment income had been earned for the museum by its private bankers to date.

In fact, two previous resident COA auditors had not barred the practice, he said.

Even former Sen. Edgardo Angara, author of the National Museum law, had no issue with it, Barns said.

However, since the National Museum has little choice but to comply with the present COA’s rigid interpretation of the rules, the board has  ordered  BDO and BPI to terminate its investments and the funds will henceforth be transferred to low-yielding government securities with the Development Bank of the Philippines, Del Rosario said.

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  • eight_log

    Regardless of intent, honest or not … ignorant or not … still they must be made liable at ikulong … if only to teach people to give an example!!! Fiscal autonomy is not meant you can deposit your funds to a non-government bank!!!!

  • jamesgeorge

    Now coa should audit if all the income accrued to the government and if all disbursements were legal and above board! Tabatsoy may have also dipped into this unless it escaped his claws! But, knowing him, hmmmmm….

  • wishfull thinking

    Nahuli na kasi kaya ibinalik na…pero kung hindi ito na-lagay sa news…tuloy -tuloy ito at walang makakaalam na inililipat na ang kinita sa iba na namang account….Ang pagkakaalam ko hindi naman ito for investment eh, ito ay gagamitin para sa mga pangangailangan ng museum so anu reason at kailangan itong i-invest? Gawain ito ng mga managers…pag-walang nakakita, i-widraw nila ang kinita at ibabalik ng tahimik sa pondo ang pera. Gawain din yan ng bossing ko na Syrian sa Saudi…bago ipasweldo ay ilalagay muna sa banko na di alam ng may-ari! ehehe!

  • observer1356

    compared to DBP, BPI & BDO are way up in the level of investment management.. if the transfer to a government bank is just subject to interpretation, COA’s common sense is not accurately sensible at all…

  • Bentot

    For further transparency, Mr. Del Rosario and Mr. Barnes should also disclose
    that the managing banks must have earned management fees.

    Nothing wrong with fees and commissions as long as they are not
    outrageous and expensive as to defeat the returns.

  • clanwolf

    Another sensible beneficial idea quashed by small minded bureaucrats.

  • tlb6432

    seems like it ends well..

    • popeyee

      kasi hindi kalaban sa politika ni Pnoy yong mga namumuno..kung nagkataon, bugbog sarado sila noong SONA…

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