Government trading arm Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) was tagged anew as the culprit in the inability of government agencies to use of millions of pesos worth of important equipment and supplies urgently needed in the operations of said agencies.
The Commission on Audit (COA), in its 2020 Annual Audit Report for the Philippine Air Force (PAF), disclosed that the PITC has deprive the command of “immediate use” of much-needed supplies and equipment despite paying the state-owned firm over P736.14 million in the past two to three years.
A number of audit reports of various agencies, including those of uniformed services, that covered 2019 indicated similar observations on PITC’s failure to deliver billions of pesos worth of supplies and equipment ordered by the concerned government offices.
In the 2020 annual audit report of the National Bureau of Investigation, the COA disclosed that the PITC was unable to deliver “state-of-the-art” Clearance Processing System and other equipment despite the fact that the NBI has advanced P103.70 million needed for the purchase.
Headed by President and CEO Dave Almarinez, the PITC is the government’s trading arm for imports and other trade services. It was established under the Department of Trade and Industry supposedly to ensure the “most efficient and cost-effective procurement services” for government agencies.
“Funds transferred from CYs 2018 to 2019 to Philippine International Trading Corp (PITC) amounting to P736.14 million for the procurement of supplies and equipment posted low delivery rate of 35.93 percent during the year; thus, depriving the Command of the immediate use of the items requisitioned,” COA said in the PAF audit report.
State auditors stressed that the low delivery rate of 35.93 percent “defeat (s) the intention of PAF to engage the services of PITC to facilitate the procurement process.”
They also pointed out that under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Law the duration of the procurement process should not exceed three months from the opening of bids up to the award of the contract.
“Had the PITC completed the said procurement process on or before the end of the first quarter of CY 2020, all projects should have been completed or on-going implementation as of December 2020, considering that the funds were transferred in 2018 and 2019,” the COA said.
The state audit agency added: “As evidenced by the poor performance of PITC, it can be inferred that it does not meet the absorptive capacity requirement as required in RA 9184.”
Auditors also lamented that the PAF should have saved P20.5 million it paid as service fee to PITC had it not tapped the procurement agency’s help in purchasing needed supplies and equipment.