Lacson calls for need to look into ‘redundant’ PITC
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday stressed the need to investigate the Philippine International Trading Corporation’s functions, which he called a redundant agency.
President Rodrigo Duterte tasked the PITC to procure the COVID-19 vaccines, but that move was criticized by senators who pointed to the agency’s poor track record.
They added that the firm, which is attached to the Department of Trade and Industry, still holds around P33 million of unused funds from different government offices.
The PITC, essentially, has a similar function to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management, which makes it redundant.
In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel, Lacson said the PITC could potentially stunt national development since the funds “entrusted” to it for procurement uses cannot be used and realigned for other more urgent programs.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings,” said Lacson.
“The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” he said.
Lacson added that the Senate should revisit the functions of the PITC, an agency that was formed through Presidential Decree 252 in 1973.
The senator also pointed out that the Philippines’ Armed Forces alone has P9.6 billion under the PITC while the Philippine Army already returned P400 million to the National Treasury.
Moreover, money deposited into the coffers of the PITC will never be realigned even if, Lacson said, the heads of the government branches would like to.
“But if the appropriations allocated to a certain government agency (that) has already contracted PITC and deposited the money to that corporation, then instead of allowing the heads of agencies or departments, executive, legislative and judiciary, instead of allowing them to use those savings to augment the items, then it is totally lost because it’s already under the account of PITC,” said Lacson.
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