13th Anniversary of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011

June 4, 2024

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and dedicated staff of the Governance Commission for GOCCs, good morning. It is an honor to join you today as we celebrate a significant milestone in our nation’s commitment to good governance—the 13th anniversary of the GOCC Governance Act of 2011.

Thirteen years ago, during my second term as Senator, I cast my vote in favor of Senate Bill No. 2640, which subsequently became Republic Act No. 10149, the very Act we commemorate today. Our collective vision was to ensure GOCCs operate profitably and contribute significantly to our nation’s economic development and the welfare of our people. Today, the role GOCCs have played as a tool for national development is undeniable. As of May 3 this year, GOCCs have remitted an impressive P88.56 billion in dividend collections, poised to surpass its P100 billion remittance in 2023. To the GCG, as the central advisory, oversight, and monitoring body of the GOCC sector, your role has been indispensable in this success.

Yet, the message I wish to impart is this: the importance of GOCCs extends beyond mere revenue generation. Primarily, GOCCs are instruments for delivering services responsive to the needs of public interest. This is why I commend this year’s focus on highlighting ecological responsibility and inclusivity, as reflected in this year’s theme. My most profound appreciation goes to the Commission, led by Chairperson Atty. Marius Corpus, and Commissioners Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka and Atty. Geraldine Marie Berberabe-Martinez, for GCG’s dedication to the principles of diversity, sustainability, and excellence.

We are living at a time when the reality of climate change is evident. We face unprecedented temperature rises, extreme heat waves, and intensified storms. Throughout my four terms in the Senate, I have been sounding the alarm. I have led initiatives on environmental protection leading into landmark legislation such as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, the Climate Change Act of 2009, the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018, among others.

In 2019, we passed the Philippine Innovation Act, which I have principally authored and co-sponsored. One of the objectives of the law is to improve innovation governance in the country and compel the adoption of a long-term vision and focused priorities for innovation. It also seeks to remove obstacles to innovation by suppressing bureaucratic hurdles, and adapting the regulatory framework to support the creation of and diffusion of new knowledge, products, and processes. We must make sure that innovation is adopted properly by the GOCCs.

Recently, we secured another victory with the signing into law of the Philippine Ecosystem and Natural Capital Accounting Systems (PENCAS) Act, which I have principally authored and sponsored. This ensures that natural capital statistics and accounts are integrated into macroeconomic indicators, employing a data-driven approach that provides a foundation for precise and transparent economic, environmental, and health policy development and decision-making. Above all, it will provide tools and measures that contribute to protecting, conserving, and restoring our ecosystems.

The PENCAS Act serves as a vital component for materializing the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, where cross-cutting measures and strategies are pursued to ensure resilient communities, institutions, and ecosystems and foster a low-carbon economy.

Yet, the conversation on climate change must include one crucial topic: gender inequality. The climate crisis is not gender-neutral; while it poses a threat to all, it disproportionately affects some more than others. By 2050, climate change will force up to 158 million more women and girls into poverty and lead to 236 million more women into hunger, as estimated by the United Nations.

According to a 2023 UN Women Report, only 55 climate action plans make specific reference to gender equality. Here in the Philippines, as early as 2009, as principal author and principal sponsor of the Climate Change Act, we declared it a policy of the State to incorporate a gender-sensitive, pro-children, and pro-poor perspective in all climate change and renewable energy efforts, plans, and programs.

My fellow public servants, women are active agents of change. In our efforts to address the climate crisis as the most urgent issue of our time, we must ensure that women’s voices are heard and embraced as essential drivers of change.

More than a celebration, today is a recommitment and rededication to inclusive and sustainable governance. Let us pledge to build upon our achievements and pave the way toward a future where every Filipino, both today and in generations to come, can thrive in a nation where potential is realized, opportunities abound, and home is protected.

Thank you at isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat.