Drilon wants trading firm PITC abolished

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2020 09:14 AM | Updated as of Nov 30 2020 10:40 AM

Drilon wants trading firm PITC abolished 1
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon speaks during a senate inquiry, March 4, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday said the Philippine International Trading Corporation should be abolished for being a duplicate agency and for using funds meant for government.

Drilon earlier said some P33 billion was "parked" in the trade department's attached firm tasked to help businesses and agencies benefit from international trade and "ensure the most efficient and cost-effective procurement services."

"Sa'kin po dapat i-abolish ang ahensiyang 'yan dahil duplication lamang…at 'yung perang hindi sa kanila ay ginagamit para sa suweldo, bonus, at kanilang operations," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(For me, this agency should be abolished because it's a duplication and they use money that is not theirs for their personnel's salary, bonus and operations.)

"'Yan po maliwanag sa kanilang audit report. Kung di po isasama 'yung interes na kinita sa money market na hindi dapat sa PITC ay kulang po ang kanilang kinikita sa iba't ibang sources para bayaran ang kanilang operating expenses, mga suweldo at bonus."

(That is clear in their audit report. If the interest they earned from the money market is not included, they are operating at a loss and have no funds for their operating expenses, salary, and bonus.)

Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said there might be a "duplication of functions" as the Department of Budget and Management also has its own procurement service and agencies have their own bids and awards committees.

The Department of Finance (DOF) has written to the DBM to urge President Rodrigo Duterte to direct the PITC to return the P33 billion worth of funds, Drilon earlier said.

Senate Committee on Health chair Christopher "Bong" Go urged the PITC board to end the controversy by giving a breakdown of how it spent government funds.

"Ipaliwanag niyo ‘yan ng mabuti sa publiko upang maresolba ang isyu at mapanatili ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa gobyerno," Go, an administration ally, told reporters.

(Explain that well to the public to resolve the issue and to keep their trust in the government.)

"Ipakita nila kung ano na ang nakumpleto, ano ang ‘ongoing procurement’ at ano ang dapat bilisan o ayusin," he said.

(They should show which projects have been completed, which are still marked as 'ongoing procurement' and which ones have to be fast tracked or fixed.)

Go did not give a direct answer if the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines would still be coursed through the PITC despite recent allegations of irregularity in the agency.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has denied that funds were being "parked" in the state's lone trading firm, but said he was open to a Senate inquiry should lawmakers want to scrutinize PITC's operations.

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