Senate panel OKs DILG budget amid billions-worth of unliquidated, 'parked' funds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2021 08:46 PM

MANILA - The Senate Finance Sub Committee on Tuesday approved the proposed P248.5 billion budget of the Department of the Interior and Local Government for next year even as senators flagged the reported billions of pesos worth of unliquidated and "parked" funds.

Sen. Imee Marcos, citing a report of the Commission on Audit, said the DILG has unliquidated funds of P3.6 billion that were transferred to local government units and NGOs.

“Ano na ba details ng report na ito?? Kasi samu’t sari 'yung binigyan ng pera dito, malaki laki yung halaga,” she said.

DILG Assistant Secretary for Administration, Finance and Comptrollership Ester Aldana said the department has liquidated P761.5 million already.

“We just have some problem following up some liquidation due to restrictions and mobility in different LGUs. But the continuous submission of liquidation is being done," she said.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also asked about the Bureau of Fire Protection's P3.4 billion funds reportedly parked at the Philippine International Trading Corporation. The BFP is under the DILG.

According to Gatchalian, the DILG transferred at least P100 million to PITC for the construction of fire stations.

"Are they much more qualified to construct fire station versus, let's say, the BFP constructing it?” he asked

The DILG said the funds were transferred to PITC since members of the BFP Bids and Awards Committee were forced to back down after they were sued by losing bidders.

The department said there were no more biddings, and instead, parked its BFP funds at the PITC since 2018.

The DILG said construction projects have been delayed since some LGUs have changed their donations of lots for proposed fire stations. It added prices of BFP equipment have changed.

The PITC supposedly vowed that projects will be finished before the year ends.

Marcos earlier filed bills proposing for the abolition of the PITC and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) which were created during her father's presidency purportedly due to "systemic corruption".

Aside from reports of corruption within these agencies, Marcos noted that the passage of the Government Procurement Reform Act in 2002 "undermines the mandate" of both the PS-DBM and the PITC as the law allows "all agencies to establish a single bids and awards committee for its procurement."

Last month, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee began investigating the transactions of the PS-DBM after the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the transfer to it of P42 billion from the Department of Health (DOH) without proper documentation.

Last year, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon found that P33 billion from the DILG and the BFP were also "parked" in the PITC.

The COA also recently flagged PITC's purchase of personal protective equipment for medical frontliners from a Davao firm, saying another bidder has been offering lower price proposals.

—With a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News

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