‘Preposterous allegations’

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10:16 PM July 4th, 2013

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July 4th, 2013 10:16 PM

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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