DOF seeks return of P33B ‘parked’ in PITC to gov’t coffers – Drilon

By: Christia Marie Ramos - Reporter / @CMRamosINQ November 26,2020 - 01:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) is seeking the return of some P33 billion “parked” in the coffers of the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) to the national government.

This was according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who was furnished a copy of the letter sent by Secretary Carlos Dominguez to Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.

In the letter dated Nov. 25, Dominguez asked Avisado to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to issue a directive for the immediate return of the funds in question.

“[W]e would like to request for the endorsement to the President by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the return to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) of the various fund transfers to PITC by certain government agencies, pursuant to DBM’s guidelines on the matter,” the letter read.

It was Drilon who earlier flagged around P33 billion “parked” in the bank accounts of the PITC as of end-2019. As of October 31 this year, P32.6 billion remains in the hands of PITC, according to the letter.

Aside from Drilon, other senators also asked for the return of the amount to the government’s coffers.

“I am glad that the DOF listens and swiftly acts on issues we raised concerning this huge sum of money parked in the PITC. These funds will go a long way,” Drilon said in a statement on Thursday.

The minority leader cited the P73.2 billion which would be needed to procure COVID-19 vaccines for the Philippines.

“With the return of this P33.3 billion, we now have half of the P73.2 billion needed for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines,” he added.

Earlier, Drilon also believes that the PITC is supposedly being used as a “pawn” by government agencies to skirt obligations to return unspent funds and avoid procurement-related liabilities.

According to Drilon, fund transfers to the PITC goes as high as P7 billion and as low as P15,000.

“It is clear that PITC wants to keep the money in bank accounts. No amount of denial and excuses can explain this. This is shady, devious, and criminal,” he went on.

“The alibi that there are no suppliers will not apply here. Where in the world you cannot buy coats and ties, tires, boots, desktop computers?” he added.

He was referring to items supposedly purchased by Philippine Army in 2007 but were not delivered.

“No excuses, just return the money,” Drilon further said.

“If these funds have been there, sitting idly for more than a decade, in the PITC accounts, it means the government agencies have no immediate and paramount need for these projects. It is only right and just that it be returned to the national coffers immediately,” he added.

/MUF

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TAGS: Department of Finance, DOF, Drilon, P33 billion, Philippine International Trading Corp., PITC, senators

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