Press Release
November 11, 2020

Recto to PITC: Waive commission in buying COVID-19 vaccine

If the DTI-attached Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) is the designated COVID-19 vaccine buyer, then it should waive its customary 1 percent to 4 percent service fee.

This is not the time to reap a pandemic windfall. When private corporations are waiving fees and writing off interests, a state agency should avoid being accused of disaster profiteering.

The PITC charges a commission of 4 percent for projects with a total contract price (TCP) of P25 million and below, and 1 percent for projects with a TCP of P700 million and above.

It could potentially earn hundreds of millions in commission for what is essentially an easy "pasabuy" gig.

Our cash-strapped, debt-assisted government will be able to save money which can be used to save lives and livelihood if middleman charges will be removed. Saan aabot, halimbawa, ang P100 million na service fee? Libo-libong PPE para sa ospital, milyon-milyong modules para sa mga paaralan.

The expectation that a government-to-government transaction will save money won't happen if the government agency on the Philippine side will be entitled to an add-on.

I have no doubt that the PITC will agree to this proposal, more so the four Cabinet members on its 11-person Board - the secretaries of DTI, DENR, DA and NEDA. They are good people.

If citizens and corporations alike are volunteering their services, equipment and facilities for free, a government corporation should do no less, and has no choice but to follow the bayanihan example.

The "no commission" rule can be written as a Special Provision in the General Appropriations Act for 2021, which I am sure will pass muster in the Senate, concurred by the House, and risks no veto from the President.

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