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Abolition of PITC, DBM office sought over questionable procurements

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Abolition of PITC, DBM office sought over questionable procurements
Senate of the Philippines.
The STAR / Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Imee Marcos has renewed the call to abolish the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), which were both created during the administration of her father Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Marcos had filed Senate Bills 1122 and 1123, which sought to abolish the PITC and PS-DBM for supposedly being responsible for questionable procurement contracts in the government.

“The series of procurement controversies that surfaced during the pandemic must end. In fact, the COA (Commission on Audit) has reported that they go back more than a decade,” Marcos said.

“We can step up emergency response with direct purchases of supplies, equipment and services. The government will also be able to avoid redundant allocations and save billions in next year’s national budget,” she added.

The COA flagged the  PS-DBM last year over the allegedly overpriced procurement of P42 billion worth of COVID-19 supplies for the Department of Health.

Last week, the  PS-DBM was embroiled anew in the questionable purchase of P2.4 billion worth of teachers’ laptops for the Department of Education.

Marcos also questioned the practice of the PS-DBM of reselling equipment and supplies to national government agencies that funded their procurement.

She said the PITC has become “a repository for unobligated funds of national government agencies” that were avoiding the return of unused portions of their budget to the national treasury and using them to fund yearend bonuses.

State auditors have flagged the PITC over at least P34 billion in idle funds from various agencies, including those for the procurement of fire trucks and military supplies.

Marcos is pushing for direct procurement by national government agencies ahead of an extended state of public health emergency and congressional hearings on the 2023 national budget.

“Both agencies were created during the term of my father in the ’70s. But they have not only outlived their usefulness; they have in fact become agencies of malfeasance and corruption,” the senator said.

Marcos emphasized that the procurement services of government agencies should be strengthened, in accordance with Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Meanwhile, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said President Marcos should be transparent in his decision regarding the government’s pandemic response.

She made the statement as the President is reportedly inclined to continue the state of public health emergency until the end of the year.       

PITC

PS-DBM

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