Finance, Budget Depts. to seek Duterte’s directive on PITC’s idle P33-B fund

Published November 26, 2020, 12:19 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

State economic managers will be asking President Duterte to issue a directive ordering the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) to immediately return around P33-billion funds parked in the agency to provide funding to the cash-strapped government, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Thursday.

Senator Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Drilon, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will now recommend to the President the issuance of a directive for the immediate return of the funds which can help the government fund the much needed procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

Dominguez, according to Drilon, personally called him to inform of his agency’s positive response to the minority leader’s expose.

“Following our discussion, we would like to request for the endorsement to the President by the DBM for the return to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) of the various fund transfers to PITC by certain government agencies, pursuant to DBM’s guidelines on the matter,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in his letter to DBM Secretary Wendell Avisado.

Drilon said the government should immediately ask for the immediate return of the huge cash sitting idly in the coffers of the PITC since the government is having difficulties raising funds due to the drop in revenues due to the pandemic.

“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,” he stressed.

“We need P73.2-billion to fund the procurement of vaccines. We need P30-billion annually to address our 6.5 million housing backlogs. We need to feed 5.5 million hungry Filipino families and support the 4.6 million unemployed Filipinos,” he added.

“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,” Drilon reiterated.

The minority leader said it was obvious PITC was bent on keeping the money in bank accounts.

“No amount of denial and excuses can explain this. This is shady, devious and criminal,” Drilon pointed out.

“The alibi that there are no suppliers will not apply here. Where in the world you cannot buy coats and ties, boots, desktop computers?” Drilon said referring to items supposedly purchased by the Philippine Army in 2007 but were not delivered.

“No excuses, just return the money,” Drilon told PITC.