Friday, December 10, 2004

NR1125:Govt abolishing NPO

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 18 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

GMA's order to abolish National Printing Office opens floodgates to more
corruption, electoral cheating - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today expressed grim warnings that the
national government was deliberately opening itself up to commit more corrupt
acts and practices. This in connection with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's
Executive Order No. 378 dated October 5, 2004 which paves the way for the
eventual abolition of the National Printing office (NPO).

Beltran said that the motives behind the plans to abolish the NPO were
questionable. "There are reports that the moves to abolish the NPO is a
maneuver to have the privately-owned APO Production Unit take over the NPO's
function," he said. APO is reportedly owned by close allies of the President.

"This APO Production Unit is reportedly deep in debt, with unpaid debts
amounting to P700 million. This amount continues to increase because of
interest and unpaid periodic amortization. Who the owners of the APO
Production Unit is as yet a mystery, but we have hunches," he said.

Beltran said that abolishing the NPO and privatizing the printing services of
the government would result in financial chaos for the government while further
strengthening the stranglehold of corruption in the bureaucracy. For one,
Beltran said, printing of government account forms especially those with
monetary face value will no longer be effectively regulated.

"There will be no more government body that would regulate and control the
serial number of the official receipts, or even just monitor the quality of
the printing. It is the NPO that is vested with regulatory function over the
government's printing services.To relegate this to privately-owned printers
could result to massive losses for the government. There is an imminent threat
danger here that those official receipts with value be unscrupulously used by
private printers in cahoots with corrupt government requisitioning officials to
enrich themselves. This will easily defraud the government of millions if not
billions of revenues," he said.

He also said that corrupt requisitioning officers in cahoots with private
printers can manipulate printing orders and overstock. "In either case, it's
the national government that stands to lose millions. Overprinting and
overstocking are arrangements that can be easily done as contracts will only be
between the requisitioning officer and the private printer. The kickbacks could
amount to millions."

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker also said that electoral cheating will
also be legalized because of the EO. Under Section 1 of EO, it's said that
the printing of election paraphernalia can be shared between the NPO and the
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, upon the approval and discretion of the
Commission on Elections, consistent with the provisions of the Election Code
of 1987. "It's easy to see how this is can be abused and exploited to the
hilt and further make Philippine elections an even more gargantuan cheating
contest," he said.

Finally, Beltran that were also legal technicalities to the EO as it violates
existing laws. From the establishment of the Bureau of Public Printing by the
Philippine Commission Act No. 296, up to the integration of the Government
Printing Office to the Department of General Services under the Revised
Administrative Code passed by Congress in 1958, the mandate of the National
Printing Office (NPO) has always been the executive jurisdiction over the
printing of all government standard and accountable forms, among others.

The same mandate was upheld by then Pres. Corazon C. Aquino when she enacted
into law Executive Order No. 285.s 1987 under the Freedom Constitution. It
was then that Congress granted the President with legislative power to
promulgate rules and regulations to carry out national policies. "The issuance
of Executive Order No. 285.s 1987 is a legislative act that has the force and
effect of the law; thus it can't be superseded, revised or amended by any
executive issuance unless such revision passes first through Congress. Given
this, Executive Order No. 378 violates an existing law,"Beltran pointed out. #


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