Recto bares ‘pasa-load scheme’ in budgeting system
MANILA, Philippines— Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto exposed on Thursday the so-called “pasa-load scheme” by some government agencies supposedly to cover up their unspent budget.
This scheme, he said, involves the alleged parking of allocations by a certain agency to another office to project an “artificial spending.”
“Ang nangyayari kasi ngayon, para lang masabi na “obligated” na ang allotment ay pinapasa ito sa ibang ahensya,” Recto said in a statement.
(What is happening now is that the allotment is being transferred to another agency just to say that it has been obligated)
Because once the funding is obligated, he said, it could not be reverted back to the National Treasury.
“But the result is that funds are not spent, but are merely parked in another agency,” Recto pointed out.
“This subverts the very essence of cash budgeting, which seeks to accelerate disbursement. This creates the illusion of money spent when what happened was the budgetary equivalent of passing the buck,” he said.
Instead of conducting a bidding, for instance, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP) would just the leave the procurement responsibility to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
But in the books of the AFP or PNP, it would appear that the funds have been obligated, when in reality, they have not been, the senator pointed out.
“Ganoon din ang mga pondong inilaan sa DOTr (Department of Transportation). Ipapa-subcontract ang procurement. And in the report card, that money has been marked as obligated,” he said.
Recto said one favorite repository of parked allotments is the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC).
Based on the 2018 Commission on Audit, he said, the PITC has received about P30.63 billion worth of fund transfers from various agencies.
In fact, Recto said the PNP once engaged the services of the PITC to procure equipment amounting to P1.35 billion but the latter managed to deliver only P137.5 million worth of purchases by end of last year, or 1/10th of the amount.
As of December 2018, he said, the PNP still has to collect about P5.08 billion worth of projects from PS-DBM intended for the procurement of common-use supplies, materials and various equipment, military and police supplies, and municipal police stations.
The same COA report revealed that the PS-DBM has P17.04 billion due to various government agencies for the procurement of various items and projects, the senator noted.
“Dapat matigil na ang ganitong “lateral transfer” of funds whose intent is to to beat the clock, a pasa-load scheme to extend the life of an appropriation about to expire,” Recto said.
The senator then urged Congress to use its oversight powers during budget implementation to determine the real status of an appropriation. /muf
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