SBMA chief’s functions split
President Arroyo signed an executive order (EO) on Aug. 4 that splits the functions of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator. Under EO 340, a chairman of the SBMA board of directors will be designated to head the agency. But the day-to-day running of the agency will continue to be the responsibility of the administrator as chief executive officer (CEO) of the SBMA.
Felicito Payumo is holding the post of SBMA administrator in a holdover capacity. In splitting the SBMA administrator’s functions, the President is expected to announce soon the two new appointees who will take over Payumo’s two functions.
Under Republic Act (RA) 7227, which created the SBMA, the administrator doubles as ex-officio chair of the board of directors. Payumo, whose term had already ended, continues to run the SBMA in a holdover capacity. He has a fixed term of six years under RA 7227. Payumo was appointed to his post by former President Joseph Estrada on June 30, 1998 but only took control on Sept. 1 because of the refusal of then SBMA administrator Richard Gordon to vacate his office. Gordon, who is now a senator, justified his defiance by pointing to his unfinished term of office as a holdover appointee of former President Fidel Ramos.
Palace sources told the STAR yesterday that at least three names were being considered for the vacancies at the SBMA, namely, former representative Pacifico Fajardo; former Ayala executive Francisco Licuanan; and former Cagayan Export Processing Zone Authority chief Rodolfo Reyes, said to be a protégé of Gordon during their stint at the SBMA.
The SBMA directive was among three EOs Mrs. Arroyo signed within the span of two days. The STAR obtained copies of the EOs only yesterday. On the same day she signed EO 340, Mrs. Arroyo signed EO 341 that gives the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) administrative supervision and control over all international airports in the country. The next day, on Aug. 5, Mrs. Arroyo signed EO 343, transferring the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to the Office of the President (OP).
Opposition leaders led by former senator Ernesto Maceda have already questioned some of the reorganization moves being made by Mrs. Arroyo since she started her new term last June 30.
Returning to his dWIZ radio program after losing in the Senate race in the May 10 elections, Maceda said the powers of Mrs. Arroyo to reorganize the government under the 1987 Administrative Code apply only to government bodies attached to the OP and does not include other agencies under the executive department.
Two of the agencies affected by Mrs. Arroyo’s triad of EOs have their own charters. Both the SBMA and the MIAA have their own charters, while the CFO was created as an attached agency under the DFA by RA 8042, which passed into law in 1996. Under EO 340, Mrs. Arroyo amended Section 13 of RA 7227, which provides for the SBMA administrator to serve as ex-officio chairman of its board of directors. "Whereas, in view of the multifarious requirements, functions and responsibilities of the Administrator as ex-officio chairman of the SBMA Board and as CEO of the SBMA, and to ensure the accomplishment of the government’s target to develop the Subic Special Economic Zone as the be st international service and logistics center in the region, there is a need to reorganize the SBMA Board by separating and allocating the powers, functions and duties of the chairman of the SBMA Board and the Administrator as CEO of the SBMA," the President said in her order.
Under EO 341, Mrs. Arroyo gave the MIAA — an agency attached to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) — jurisdiction not just over the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) but also over the Laoag International Airport, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (formerly the Clark International Airport), the Subic Bay International Airport, the Mactan International Airport in Cebu, the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao, the General Santos International Airport and the Zamboanga City International Airport. Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo promoted former MIAA general manager Edgar Manda as presidential assistant at the OP and named erstwhile Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) administrator Al Cusi as new MIAA chief.
On the removal of the CFO from DFA jurisdiction, Mrs. Arroyo said EO 343 merely reverts the CFO to the OP. In 1980 Batas Pambansa 79 created the CFO as an agency under the OP. She also justified the transfer as another step to "effectively oversee and supervise the Government’s efforts towards strengthening overseas workers’ protection" after her creation last month of a presidential task force against illegal recruitment headed by retired police Col. Reynaldo Jaylo. "Recognizing the unprecedented and phenomenal increase in the number of Filipinos overseas, the Government is committed to strengthen its efforts towards protecting the rights and welfare of Filipinos overseas, including their protection from the depredations of domestic recruiters as well as of overseas employers, agents and officials, and their protection from physical harm," she wrote in her directive. In her state of the nation address before Congress last July 26, Mrs. Arroyo said she had already abolished 80 agencies under the OP and intended to abolish or remove 30 more from direct OP supervision.
In previous EOs, she transferred from the OP the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) to the Department of Finance, and the Philippine National Construction Co. (PNCC) and the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She also ordered the transfer of the Public Estates Authority (PEA) from the Department of Public Works and Highways to the DOF.
By Marichu VillanuevaThe Philippine Star 08/10/2004