Published January 11, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
At more than 5.0 million a year in base salary and added benefits, the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) is the highest paid executive in the entire energy sector, according to official report of the Commission on Audit (COA).
Documents from COA showed that PNOC-EC President and CEO Pedro A. Aquino Jr. received R5.401 million in 2015 in salaries and allowances; and P5.361 million in 2014. The latest COA report was released in 2016.
This practically dwarfed the salary and compensation level of the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary at roughly P2.3 million including remunerations as Chairman or Vice Chairman of the board of directors of various energy agencies and attached corporations. The base salary of the energy secretary during the tenure of Carlos Jericho L. Petilla and Zenaida Y. Monsada had been at P1.08 million vis-à-vis that of the P2.495 million of the PNOC-EC chief executive.
The salaries and allowances of the PNOC-EC president had also been higher than the chief executive of its parent firm Philippine National Oil Company – logged at P1.548 million for former PNOC President Antonio M. Cailao in 2015; and P1.578 million in 2014.
Top executives of two PNOC subsidiaries – the PNOC Renewables Corporation (PNOC-RC) and PNOC-Development and Management Corporation (PNOC-DMC) were also well compensated – despite lack of tangible accomplishments in these two state-run firms for some years. PNOC-DMC was subsequently dissolved.
Former PNOC-DMC President and CEO Herminio Alcasid Sr. received total compensation of P3.041 million in 2015 with a base salary of P1.440 million annually; while PNOC-RC President Carlos Jose P. Gatmaitan had aggregate P2.002 million in salaries and allowances in 2015.
For the chief executives of other energy-attached firms and agencies, the compensation levels for year 2015 had been: National Power Corporation President Gladys Cruz-Sta.Rita at P2.463 million; Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) Officer-in-Charge Lourdes S. Alzona at R1.914 million; National Transmission Corporation Officer-in-Charge Generoso M. Senal at P1.587 million; and former National Electrification Administration chief Edita S. Bueno at P2.874 million.
For the officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), their compensation levels for that reporting year had been the following: Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar at P2.119-million split for his initial 5 months at the ERC and his remaining tenure as Justice Undersecretary prior to his appointment at the energy sector; Commissioner Gloria Victoria Yap-Taruc at P1.763 million; Commissioner Geronimo D. Sta. Ana at P1.479 million; Commissioner Alfredo J. Non at P1.804 million; and Commissioner Josefina Patricia M. Asirit at P1.782 million.
Since the entry of the new administration in June, 2016, some attached agencies and energy corporations already pursued organizational restructuring, including the steps taken by PNOC.
PNOC-Renewables had also been proposed for scrapping, but the energy department is still defending its existence, with plans to use it for state-sponsored RE projects or set it as corporate vehicle for the Agus-Pulangui hydropower assets.
Similarly, the ERC has instituted reforms in its organization that included beefing up the compensation level of its employees.