MANILA — The Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) is set to turn over 100 percent of the interest earnings of the P33 billion procurement funds to the National Treasury, Malacañang announced Tuesday.
“Naanunsiyo na po ni Secretary (Ramon) Lopez na bagama’t sa legal charter po ng PITC ay pupuwede nilang kunin iyong interest doon sa P33 billion at ang binibigay lang ngayon sa national government ay 50 percent..., ibibigay na nila 100 percent na interes na tinubo ng 33 billion,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
(Secretary Lopez earlier announced that while it is PITC’s right to keep the interest of the P33 billion following their charter, they decided to give the whole 100 percent interest to the national government, when previously they only give 50 percent.)
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to return to the Bureau of Treasury some P1.5 billion in interest earnings the PITC made through public funds.
Dominguez pointed out that as of 2019, the state trading firm has been keeping P1.15 billion in interest income.
Because of this, Roque said the DTI, Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management will scrutinize the funds given to the state trading company.
“Iisa-isahin po iyong mga pondo na ibinigay sa PITC at aalamin kung alin doon ang tuloy pang proyekto at hindi. Iyong mga hindi natuloy na proyekto, iyan po iyong ibabalik ng mga ahensya nagbigay ng pondo sa PITC sa national treasurer nang magamit po ng Presidente sa ibang pamamaraan,” Roque said.
(We will look into the funds given to PITC one by one and we will try to find out which projects are ongoing and which ones have stopped.)
The funds are not idle, according to him, but are currently undergoing different stages of procurement.
“Eh ano kung P33 billion iyong nakabinbin? Pero iyong P33 billion, hindi po ibig sabihin na idle lang po iyan… Ang DND (Department of National Defense) ay mayroong P11 billion po na binigay sa PITC, pero hindi po ibig sabihin iyon na walang nangyayari -- iba’t ibang stages of bidding nga lamang,” he said.
(So what if the P33 billion is pending. It does not mean that it is idle. The DND has given P11 billion to the PITC but it does not mean that nothing is happening with the funds. They are undergoing different stages of bidding.)
President Rodrigo Duterte sees no issue that P33 billion in government funds from different agencies were “parked” in the PITC, Roque said.
“Pero ang Presidente naman po, sabi niya, tatanggapin niya rekomendasyon ng mga ahensya, pero sisiguraduhin niya na talagang hindi na tuloy ang proyekto. Kasi gaya nga po noong P11 billion ng DND, hindi po pupuwedeng maantala iyan,” said Roque.
(The President said he would accept the recommendation of the agency and he would make sure that the project would be discontinued. Just like the P11 billion funds of DND, it should not be delayed.)
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had earlier pushed for the abolition of the PITC, saying that it was duplicating the purpose of existing procurement agencies.
— Report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News