Drilon: Unused P22.8-B 'parked' in PITC, PS-DBM must be returned to national treasury

Published August 26, 2021, 11:27 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Unused funds under the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) and the controversial procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) should be returned to the national coffers, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Thursday, Aug. 26.

In particular, Drilon said the PITC should return “up to the last centavo” to the national treasury, the P11.02-billion unused and unexpended funds parked under the agency, consistent with the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA).

“This is consistent with the findings of the COA, the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and the provision in the Republic Act No. 11520 that extended the availability of the 2020 national budget,” Drilon said.

Under the said law, Drilon stressed that “any balances of fund transfers in the books of the PITC shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund” upon its effectivity in December 2020.

Based on the 2020 COA report, PITC failed to fully turn over the funds to the concerned source agencies or the Bureau of Treasury contrary to audit guidelines as well as general provisions of the General Appropriations Act of 2020, Drilon noted.

The PITC had earlier reported to have returned P5.2- billion of its funds to the Bureau of Treasury.

But Drilon said that if the P5.2-billion funds that have been returned part of the P11.02-billion flagged by COA, then the entire fund must be returned immediately.

“Ilang milyong bakuna ba ang mabibili sa P11 bilyon? Ilang pamilya ang makakatanggap ng P4,000 kung maibabalik nang buo ang P11 bilyon? (How much vaccines can we buy with P11-billion? How many families can receive P4,000 if the whole P11-billion amount is returned)?” the minority leader pointed out.

Likewise, Drilon said the PS-DBM should do the same, noting that the COA also flagged the PS-DBM for unused funds that remained dormant for years to the tune of P11.86-billion.

“The PITC and PS-DBM have no right to keep this huge sum of taxpayers’ money. Pursuant to Section 65 of Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, all interest earning of the fund transfers must be remitted to the national treasury,” Drilon stressed.

“Consistent with the provision of RA 11520, any balances of fund transfers to procurement agencies should revert to the general fund,” he added.