Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III did not oppose propositions for the abolition of the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) and the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
The Department of Finance (DOF) chief was asked by Senator Imee Marcos about his position during the Senate Committee on Finance’s deliberation on the P23.18-billion proposed budget of his agency in 2022.
While telling senators that he has yet to read or study any proposal for the abolition of DBM-PS and PITC, Dominguez said: “I believe it’s worth looking at.”
“I think all agencies in government, all agencies should be regurlarly reviewed for possible abolition,” he told the Senate panel.
“I think it’s a good idea to review all government agencies,” he added, before committing that he will “take a close look” on the proposal.
Marcos, who had filed bills seeking the abolition of the two procurement agencies, recalled the Duterte administration’s push for the rightsizing of government to address the bloated bureaucracy of the country.
The DOF was also lukewarm to pending proposals in Congress seeking the creation of new government agencies.
Calls for the abolition of DBM-PS and the PITC floated following the Senate Blue Ribbon’s investigation on the purchases made by the Department of Health (DOH) for COVID-19 response thru the DBM-PS.
Senators have also been lamenting the billions of funds “parked” in the two procurement agencies for several years.
In the hearing, the Bureau of Customs (BOC), an attached agency of the DOF, acknowledged receiving an adverse opinion from the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2020 over the more than P1 billion funds it transferred in the DBM-PS, and the more than P2 billion in advances made to PITC that have been languishing for two to six years.
The amounts comprised of procurement of motor vehicles and firearms for Customs police, payments for the bureau’s fuel marking program, among several other projects.
COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo also supported the proposed abolition of the two agencies.