House Deputy Minority leader Carlos Isagani Zarate on Monday, September 4, scored the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for still having more than P4.1 billion worth of funds “parked” at the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) since 2017, and yet are still asking for additional funds to purchase more fire trucks.
Aside from the Department of Health (DOH), Zarate pointed out other government agencies have been using the PITC and DBM-PS as a “mega-parking lot”, citing in particular the DILG, Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Energy (DOE).
Zarate said it is high-time Congress reviews the role of these two procurement agencies where huge public funds could have been wasted due to corruption.
“The Commission on Audit (COA) also flagged these transfers to PS-DBM and PITC for the procurement of items which were not utilized,” Zarate said in a statement.
“Sayang ang budget kung napapark lang sa PITC at sa PS-DBM at hindi naman napapakinabangan (The budget are only wasted if they are not utilized and are just parked at the PITC and DBM-PS),” he said.
“Considering the nature of work of the BFP as first responders, their equipment should be always maintained and updated to improve its services and to further minimize injuries and/or casualties,” the Bayan Muna representative also stressed.
Zarate said the DILG should first judiciously use the funds to push for the modernization of the BFP and procure materials for the department.
“For every emergency equipment not procured efficiently, potentially more damage to life and property will happen,” he stressed.
“Babantayan namin ang isyung ito at itutulak na buwagin na ang PITC at DBM-PS dahil hindi lamang ito nagiging pugad ng korapsyon pero sinasayang pa nito ang pera ng mamamayan (We will look into this issue and push to abolish the PITC and DBM-PS because these two agencies have just become a nest for corruption and are wasting public fudns),” he emphasized.