Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Wednesday stressed the need to revisit the functions of the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), which is turning out to be a redundant agency.
Lacson said the PITC can potentially stunt national development since the funds “entrusted” to it for procurement cannot be used and realigned for urgent programs.
“The issue is this: If the agencies procure items via their own Bids and Awards Committees or the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service, the funds that are not used can be converted into savings. The President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed by the Constitution to realign these to other items within their respective offices. But funds with the PITC become idle and are returned to the Treasury,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“So development is stunted in some ways because funds that should have been available are returned to the Treasury and cannot be realigned for other needs,” he added.
He added they need to revisit the functions of the PITC, which was established via Presidential Decree 252 in 1973, and PD 1071 that expanded its mandate to be “one of the drivers of Philippine trade worldwide.”
Lacson noted the Armed Forces of the Philippines alone has P9.6 billion still under the PITC, with the Army having P400 million returned to the Treasury.
During his interpellation of Sen. Franklin Drilon’s privilege speech Tuesday, Lacson noted that if an agency fails to spend what is appropriated within the period authorized by the budget, the national government loses the right to spend.
Under the Constitution, he said the President, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice and even heads of constitutional offices are authorized to realign savings within their respective offices.
“But if the appropriations allocated to a certain government agency (that) has already contracted PITC and deposited the money to that corporation, then instead of allowing the heads of agencies or departments, executive, legislative and judiciary, instead of giving them the opportunity to use those savings to augment the items, then it is totally lost because it’s already under the account of PITC,” he said.
On the other hand, Lacson said the PITC could be redundant since the creation of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management, even as government agencies now have their own Bids and Awards Committees.