2022 budget to prohibit transfer of funds to procurement agencies for non-common goods - Drilon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2021 10:23 AM

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MANILA - The 2022 national budget will have a provision that will prohibit the transfer of funds to procurement agencies for items which are not common goods, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Monday.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is currently investigating the management of COVID-19 funds, including the transfer of some P42 billion from the Department of Health to the Procurement Service office of the Department of Budget and Management supposedly for medical supplies, such as face masks and face shields.

"Upon my prodding, the Senate Finance Committee will include a provision in the 2022 budget which will basically say that you can no longer use procurement agencies like PS-DBM and PITC (Philippine International Trading Corporation) for equipment which are not for common use," Drilon told ANC's Headstart.

"There is basis and validity in allowing purchase of common use equipment, but please, the way it has been abused because of the personalities aiding these agencies, they were used as a means to wash themselves of any responsibility or any corruption that takes place in the procurement of these goods," he said.

The Senate hearing on COVID-19 funds was prompted by a Commission on Audit report that flagged "deficiencies" in DOH's management of its allocated budget for 2021. Drilon had said the transfer of P42 billion to PS-DBM was to "mask its unobligation rate and inefficiency."

During the course of the legislative investigation, senators also questioned the supposed overpricing of medical equipment and the awarding of billions worth of supply contract to Pharmally, a company with less than a million pesos in paid-up capital.

The panel had so far recommended filing of various charges against several officials of Pharmally, Chinese businessman and former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang and former PS-DBM chief Christopher Lloyd Lao.

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