SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the Philippine International Trading Corporation, together with the Department of Trade and Industry as its mother agency, to immediately act and shed light on the issue involving alleged ‘parked’ public funds worth several billions of pesos.
Some senators recently raised alarm over the alleged ‘parked’ funds meant for various purchases the PITC is supposed to make on behalf of government agencies. The trading company is mandated to “engage in exports, trade services and special trading arrangements” while ensuring the “most efficient and cost-effective procurement services for the government.”
In an ambush interview after leading the distribution of assistance to affected families in Cavite City on Monday, November 30, Go urged PITC to immediately explain and resolve the matter.
“Dapat ipaliwanag nila ‘yan sa publiko, ipaliwanag nila sa Senado at kung kinakailangan pong imbestigahan ng Senado to shed light, ma-explain nila nang mabuti kung ano ba talaga ang totoo, ano ba talaga ang perang ito, bakit sinasabing naka-park lang,” Go said.
“Kaya rin wala akong pagtutol kung sakaling nais ng Senado na imbestigahan ang PITC hinggil sa isyu na ito para rin mabigyan ng oportunidad ang PITC na magpaliwanag, ayusin ang dapat ayusin, mapabilis at masunod ang tamang proseso, at kung kakailanganin — mapanagot ang sinumang may pagkukulang,” he previously also said.
Go also said that every centavo of public funds must be accounted for, especially during these times when the government is managing available funds to sufficiently procure COVID-19 vaccines.
“Dapat wala pong nasasayang na pondo ng gobyerno at nakatulog d’yan dahil nangangailangan po ang gobyerno ng pera, lalo na pambili ng vaccine,” he said.
“So, dapat po kung anuman pong pera meron ang gobyerno, gamitin sa tama up to the last centavo,” he added.
If the funds are indeed parked and will not be utilized, Go said that they may be used instead to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
The Department of Finance, meanwhile, earlier sought the return of funds that are not being utilized in the coffers of the PITC to the national government.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also urged the DTI and PITC to revert to the national treasury PhP1.151 billion representing the balance of interests earned on funds held in trust by PITC for its client agencies to purchase various goods, such as fire trucks, army boots and first-aid kits.
Meanwhile, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez gave assurances that these are not “parked funds” and the procurement process by the PITC on behalf of government agencies is “done judiciously, fairly, and transparent.”
“Again, based on the reports and documents submitted to me, all the funds that are pending with the PITC are found to be either for ongoing procurement or awarded projects. Hence, not idle,” Lopez added.
In a later statement, Lopez said that the agency does not tolerate corruption. He also mentioned the records are the best evidence.
“PITC has nothing to hide. Its funds and operations are strictly audited by the COA,” he added as he assured that the PITC has been remitting to national treasury growing amount of dividends.
“For transparency, I have asked PITC to provide those documents, including the breakdown and status of the P33B, to Sen. Drilon,” he said further.