COA chair backs proposed scrapping of DBM-PS, PITC
MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Michael Aguinaldo on Friday expressed support for bills seeking to abolish the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (DBM-PS) and the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
“I would support the measures that have been filed and I would be very willing to provide some suggestions on changing the nature by which we procure common-use supplies in particular to make it less susceptible you know any kind of alleged corruption and the like,” Aguinaldo said during the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing, but stressed he was not speaking on behalf of COA itself.
“I support the bill and I’d be very willing to provide some input for consideration of the honorable Senate,” he added.
Aguinaldo also said it was “high time” to look into the government’s procurement practice.
“One of the criticisms of R.A. 9184 (Government Procurement Act) is that it is too focused on accountability at the expense of efficiency so maganda siguro mayroong konting balance [I think it’s better if we have a balance],” he told senators.
“Balance ng [of] efficiency sa [with] accountability,” he added.
Senator Imee Marcos recently filed a bill abolishing the DBM-PS and the PITC to address the “systemic corruption” in the two agencies.
According to the senator, the mandate of DBM-PS became “archaic and irrelevant” while PITC has weakened with the passage of R.A. No. 9184, which already strengthens the procurement service of national government agencies.
“In addition to its mandate being affected by changes in national policies and legislation, the DBM-PS have dealt with issues regarding the exercise of their mandate in the previous years,” Marcos said in filing her bill.
She cited in particular the recent controversies surrounding the Department of Health’s transfer of P42 billion to the DBM-PS for the procurement of face shields, face masks, personal protective equipment, and other pandemic-related purchases.
This transfer was among the topics being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon committee.
In the case of the PITC, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon flagged last year the funds “parked” in the PITC, saying it is being used as a “pawn” by government agencies to skirt obligations to return unspent funds and avoid procurement-related liabilities.
Marcos also said the PITC has already “outlived” its original purpose.
The PITC, she said, was created in the 1970s during her father’s term to procure oil and other products from communist countries which do not have existing trade and diplomatic ties with the Philippines at the time.