BIZ BUZZ: Major revamp at DBP
A major shake-up is about to hit state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
Biz Buzz learned that President Marcos picked Philip Lo to replace former Supreme Court Associate Justice Dante Tinga as chair of DBP. Lo will serve the remaining term of Tinga that began on July 1 last year and will end on June 30, 2024.
Appointees are usually reelected at the board every year until replaced by Malacañang.
Based on a report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Lo was the third biggest donor to Mr. Marcos’ campaign after pitching in P25 million to bankroll the now-President’s bid. From now on, Lo will help manage one of the government’s most important financial institutions.
In the first half of 2023—the latest financial report available—DBP saw its net income jump by 60 percent year-on-year to P4.42 billion. During the same period, 56 percent of DBP’s total loan portfolio of P507 billion was used to bankroll public infrastructure projects. — Ian Nicolas P. Cigaral
Extortionists under probe
To Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officers using their position to extort from businesses, it’s payback time.
The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), an agency under the Office of the President, is coordinating with other enforcement agencies, such as the Philippine National Police, to enforce the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Law and throw out the bad eggs in the bureaucracy.
“Our Office strongly wants to subdue unwarranted delay and unnecessary and unlawful fees, including the delay in inspection and issuance of permits and imposition of the fees that “went to as high as P1.5 million” as mentioned in your column,” ARTA director general Ernesto Perez wrote to us in response to a Jan. 4 item here that tackled the issue of fire clearances for sale.
Through ARTA’s efforts, he noted that several fixers at the Land Transportation Office had been caught, and an employee of the Bureau of Fire in Quezon City already convicted of direct bribery.
EODB Law mandated the setting up of a Citizen’s Charter by all government agencies, providing information on the comprehensive and uniform list of requirements for each type of application and request, procedures, processing time and fees to be paid, among others. The same law even directs a”zero-contact policy” to preserve integrity when transacting with the government, Perez said.
“To ensure compliance with the Citizen’s Charter, ARTA’s Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation Office (CMEO) has been in constant monitoring. even doing on-site inspections, of the different government offices and agencies,” he said.
As of Aug.31, 2023, he noted that 10,716 out of 11,313 or 94.72 percent agencies and local government units have submitted their Citizen’s Charter.
As to the reported requirement to buy the required number of fire extinguishers from favored entities, Perez said this was a “clear violation, if not a circumvention of the prohibitions” in the EODB Law.
Any violation is punishable by imprisonment of one year to six years and a penalty of not less than P500,000 but not more than P2 million. “ARTA has been actively investigating agencies complained through our hotlines. To ensure an effective complaint-resolution process, all concerns and complaints received by ARTA are immediately pre-assessed by the Complaints Officers within the day of assignment and forwarded to assisting lawyers for validation,” he said.
ARTA has conducted 116 field investigations and 399 table investigations, and cases were referred to or filed with the Office of Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission, Office of the President or to the courts, he noted. — Doris Dumlao-Abadilla