Lacson: Gov’t use of PITC in procurement must be ‘revisited and stopped’
MANILA, Philippines — The government’s practice of tapping the little-known state-run trading firm Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) in procuring goods and products should be “revisited and stopped,” according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.
This as the lawmaker has questioned the existence of PITC, which, he thinks, may have already “outlived its purpose.”
Lacson said a review of such government habit could save it some “unnecessary expenses amounting to billions of pesos in delays and commissions or service fees.”
“Initially, it was only used to circumvent the procurement of medicines, especially for emergency needs. But later, it has expanded into the procurement of other items like rice,” he said in a statement.
“That said, it is only prudent that the government at least take a long hard look at the involvement of the PITC in the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines,” Lacson added.
PITC, which is under the Department of Trade and Industry, was recently tasked with importing COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies amid optimistic reports about results of recent phased trials.
Lacson’s suggestion comes after senators pointed out that tapping the firm allowed departments to make it appear that their budgets had been obligated.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said he suspects over P33 billion in taxpayers’ money were parked in PITC.
He said government agencies usually engage the services of PITC when they are supposed to buy goods and products, and “pass on the budget there so that they will say it is already obligated when in truth and fact it is just deposited.”
The Senate Minority Leader earlier said he would seek a Senate inquiry into the books of the PITC.
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