Economy

LANDBANK, GSIS to help PCIC overhaul investment practices

FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said he ordered the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to help the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) better manage risk to allow it to venture away from safe but low-paying treasury investments.

The order follows a PCIC a presentation in which it revealed that it spends 35 centavos for every peso it receives in premiums, much more than other major government institutions that manage portfolios from contribution income.

GSIS President-General Manager Rolando L. Macasaet said the pension fund for civil servants only spends around three to five centavos, while Mr. Dominguez, who chairs the Social Security Commission, said the Social Security System’s spending is about six centavos for every peso received.

The PCIC has said that most of its P6.8 billion in assets are with LANDBANK and the Bureau of the Treasury.

National Treasurer Rosalia De Leon said the cash being invested by the PCIC comes from the subsidy provided by the government, effectively making the PCIC dependent on the lowest-risk instruments which pay the least instead of managing a portfolio with a risk-reward structure that earns superior returns.

Mr. Dominguez said such funds could have earned more if placed in higher-yielding investments.

Mr. Macasaet from GSIS proposed that the PCIC widen the base of paying clients so it can generate income from its insurance operations. Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin D. Adriano also floated the similar proposal, though he called for a balance between its social welfare function and commercial operations.

LANDBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia C. Borromeo said the PCIC needs to properly assess the risks associated with various crops or subsectors to help it correctly price its policies.

The PCIC was formerly controlled by the Department of Agriculture, but is now managed by the Department of Finance, which has ordered it to disclose more information about its financial standing in order to bring it internal practices more into line with other professionally-run government financial institutions. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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