‘Preposterous allegations’

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This refers to the allegations of columnist Ramon Tulfo against myself and National Museum Assistant Director Ana Labrador (Metro, 6/29/13).

The status of the Museum Endowment Fund has been one of the most significant accomplishments achieved for the National Museum in recent years. In 2010, the Fund, mandated by law to have been established in the amount of P500 million in 2001, had received contributions of only P77 million. Within the last three years, we have succeeded in enlarging the principal to P320 million.

Regarding its administration, the Board of Trustees is empowered by law to direct the Fund’s investment. As such, it appointed the two best performing fund managers in the country, namely BDO and BPI. Investment accounts were duly opened for the National Museum, and transfers were made as contributions arrived. All bank accounts and transfers were approved by the Board of Trustees.

The good news is that the total value of the National Museum’s investment portfolios, representing the entirety of the Fund, is over P370 million as of June 30, 2013. Over P39 million has accrued since the fund managers were appointed in late 2011, a very satisfactory performance.

Unfortunately, however, there have been issues in connection with audit compliance. We have been hampered by longstanding constraints in our finance and administrative support group, and we have been proposing for the reorganization and strengthening of our accounting, cash management and internal audit capabilities, which we hope can be implemented this year. Lapses in bookkeeping and reporting have indeed been identified, and the Commission on Audit has been assured that these are being rectified. To ensure timely compliance moving forward, we are working together to arrive at firmer guidelines that also take into account the National Museum’s unique status and needs as stated in its charter.

All stakeholders of the National Museum can be assured that there has been no incidence of plunder or anything of the sort. The Board of Trustees is fully satisfied with the existence, security and enhanced performance of the Museum Endowment Fund.

The allegations against myself and Dr. Labrador are baseless and preposterous. Indeed, this is once again the work of our detractors, especially a group of disgruntled employees who have been active for decades in political intrigue inimical to the public service and who oppose the reforms to the organization that are ongoing. These include disciplinary actions against these same employees.

—JEREMY BARNS,

director, National Museum

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  • randyaltarejos

    Did it really address the concerns of the public as to how the funds at the National Museum should be spent? If I remember it correctly, Mr. Tulfo was questioning the qualifications and capabilities of the two top officials at the said government agency.

  • lamanglupa

    Well it is quite an achievement, but it does not answer the question of where is the money, what happened to it, why did they transfer it to private bank accounts. I read in the GMA news that Director Barns, who (from what I gathered) is a CESO III, MA Economics graduate and has been working in Malacanang for some time under GMA administration, said that ‘NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS IMPROPER’. Seriously? That was the best excuse he could give being the head of a national agency and a person who should be knowledgeable in management, administration, and financial transactions?

  • lamanglupa

    Quite an achievement indeed, but it does not answer the question of where is the money, what happened to it and why was it transferred to private bank accounts. From what I read in GMAnews regarding this issue Director Barns, who is (from what i gathered) a CESO III, MA Economics graduate and has been working in Malacanang for sometime under GMA administration (hence a government employee), just answered “NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS IMPROPER”. Seriously? Was that the best excuse for the head of a National Agency and someone who supposed to be knowledgeable in management, administration and financial transactions?

  • basilionisisa

    Mr Barns: Why don’t you sue Mr Tulfo? Ensuing investigations will then clear matters! and punish who needs punishment!

  • walangutak

    It is a prime duty of a public institution to managed funds entrusted to it, such as contributions and donations. Having the funds management entrusted to a well established banking institution is a good move by the board of trustees of the National Museum, the fact that it earned a lot and adding cash to its coffer. BDO and BPI deserves to be entrusted such funds. If only the National Museum included in its payroll Mon, it would have been a different scenario.

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