Press Release
August 26, 2021

'Return everything': Unused funds in PITC, PS-DBM should be returned to national coffers, Drilon says

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday lauded the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) for heeding his call to return billions in unused funds to the national treasury in support of the government's response to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the minority leader, who exposed billions of pesos parked in the PITC, said the trading firm should return "up to the last centavo" of the P11.02 billion unused and unexpended funds.

"This is consistent with the findings of the COA, the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines and the provision in the Republic Act No. 11520 that extended the availability of the 2020 national budget," Drilon said.

RA 11520 explicitly provides that "Any balances of fund transfers in the books of the PITC shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund" upon its effectivity" in December 2020.

It was Drilon who inserted that provision in the said law to force government procurement agencies to turn over unused funds to the national coffers.

According to the 2020 COA report, the balance of the fund transfers amounting to a little over P11 billion from various source agencies, specifically national government agencies, were not returned to the concerned source agencies or the Bureau of Treasury contrary to audit guidelines as well as the general provisions of the prior year's General Appropriations Act, Drilon noted.

The PITC had earlier reported to have returned P5.2 billion of its funds to the Bureau of Treasury.

"Is the P5.2 billion being reported as having been returned part of the P11.02 billion flagged by COA?" asked Drilon.

If not, Drilon said then the entire fund must be returned immediately.

"Ilang milyong bakuna ba ang mabibili sa P11 bilyon? Ilang pamilya ang makakatanggap ng P4,000 kung maibabalik nang buo ang P11 bilyon? Drilon said.

Drilon said if the entire P11 billion is returned, it will enable the government to buy 22 million doses of vaccines at P500 per dose or provide ayuda to 2.7 million families.

Drilon said the controversial Procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) should do the same.

The COA also flagged PS-DBM for unused funds that remained dormant for years to the tune of P11.86 billion.

"The PITC and PS-DBM have no right to keep this huge sum of taxpayers' money. Pursuant to Section 65 of Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, all interest earning of the fund transfers must be remitted to the national treasury," Drilon stressed.

"Consistent with the provision of RA 11520, any balances of fund transfers to procurement agencies should revert to the general fund," he added.

He advised the Department of Finance (DOF) to look into the funds being held by PITC and PS-DBM "contrary to the laws." - END

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