DOE, ERC admit buying plane tickets, office supplies via PS-DBM

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2021 08:18 PM

MANILA - The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Thursday admitted procuring office supplies and plane tickets through Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM). 

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Karlos Isagani Zarate quizzed the government agencies during their budget deliberation before the House Committee on Appropriations. 

“Did your agencies transfer funds to other agencies for respective procurement halimbawa nag-transfer ba kayo sa PS-DBM or sa PITC? If there are, what are these procurements?” Zarate asked.

But Energy Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza claimed this has been common practice even during the previous administrations.

“I have been part of the administration previously and I’m aware of procurement that was made through from number one, PITC," Erguiza pointed out.

He added that the procurement was meant to install and redesign offices in the DOE, among the things that he is "aware of."

The purchases made through PS-DBM, he added, are "items that [have] to do with the day-to-day operational concerns" in the agency. 

"[This includes] the procurement of airline tickets. As far as I am aware those are just the items that have been in transaction with PITC and PS-DBM.”

ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera, for her part, admitted transferring funds to procure common use supplies.

"It’s really payment for whatever we have procured from PS-DBM. Considering your honor the very small budget of ERC, I don’t think we have anything to transfer to other agencies," according to Devanadera. 

“With regards to transfer of funds to any agency except for the procurement for the common use supplies, vehicles, laptops that are available at PS-DBM if this honorable committee will consider that as a transfer that’s the only thing that we’ve done," she added. 

This came amid the controversial fund transfers that the health department made through PS-DBM, which the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee found to have irregularities. 

PS-DBM is an agency that buys commonly used supplies for government offices in bulk and at cheaper costs. 

The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier questioned the DOH's decision to transfer P42 billion to the PS-DBM without proper documentation.

--- Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

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