Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, Dec. 1, backed calls to abolish the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), saying its system of accommodating the “parking” of unused public funds is a travesty of governance and is tantamount to defrauding the government.
De Lima also said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should also amend its rules and regulations to prevent government agencies from “parking” budgets for extended periods of time.
“Malinaw po ang batas natin. Kapag hindi nagastos ang pondo, dapat po isauli sa National Treasury para magamit po sa ibang bagay,” De Lima said in a statement. “Ang ginagawa ng PITC na ito, kunwari nirereserba yung pondo pambayad para magrelease ng pondo yung DBM, pero ang totoo, wala pa talagang babayaran.”
(Our laws make it clear. If public funds were not used, these should be returned to the National Treasury to be used in other programs. What PITC does is pretend to reserve government funds so DBM can release additional funds. But, the truth is, they have nothing to spend these on.)
De Lima noted billions of pesos of these government funds have been “parked” in the PITC for years when the government could have put the said funds to a much better use.
“Ang masama pa dun, sinisingil nila ng fee ang mga government agencies na nagpapatago sa kanila ng pondo. Dahil sa diumano ay ‘revenue’ na ito, binibigyan nila ng malalaking bonus at suweldo ang kanilang mga executive,” she pointed out.
(What is worse is that they even had to charge these government agencies that have been parking their funds under their care. They regard this as a ‘revenue’ and they use this to give huge bonuses to pay their executives.)
She said PITC supposedly exists to help local businesses sell their products overseas, but the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) itself said the agency’s performance has been sorely lacking.
“Ayo sa GCG, bagsak ang kanilang grado sa pagpapatupad nila ng kanilang mandato. Imbes na inaatupag nila ang kanilang trabaho, ginagamit nila ang kanilang opisina para dayain ang gobyerno,” de Lima said.
(According to the GCG, they got failing marks in terms of implementing their mandate. Instead of doing their jobs, they are using the office to defraud the government.)
“I join the calls to abolish PITC. The DBM should also amend their rules to prevent agencies from ‘parking’ their budgets for extended periods of time,” she stressed.
It was Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon who earlier pushed for the abolition of the PITC, saying the agency is merely duplicating other agency’s procurement functions.
It was also Drilon who exposed the alleged P33.4-billion funds that have been parked under the state trading firm’s bank accounts.