SENATE PRESIDENT Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto called out the practice of government agencies of transferring unused funds to two entities, which reflect inefficiency in the use of the annual budget.  

Mr. Recto said the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) and the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) have become “mega parking lots of funds.”   

“It’s not because of procurement expertise that they keep passing the funds around. The true reason is, so they are not caught up by the deadline and waste the funds of the agency,” said Mr. Recto in Filipino.  

“It circumvents the provision in the national budget that appropriations must be spent within the fiscal year,” he added.   

He cited that at least P63.1 billion have been dumped into these two agencies, with PITC, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, accounting for P31.54 billion and the PS-DBM with P31.56 billion.  

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told BusinessWorld in a Viber Message that he has asked PITC to “release a report to update the Senators.”  

In a briefing last November, Mr. Lopez said that no money remains with the PITC and everything is accounted for.   

He explained that some processes are moved to the following year due to delays in evaluating technical specification evaluations, which he said happens at other agencies as well.   

Money that is not returned to the Treasury translates to PITC income, said Mr. Lopez. “Half of the income is returned to the government as dividends, and the rest sustain PITC operations. PITC receives no budget allocations as it is self-sustaining,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.  

Mr. Recto said that in 2020, PITC booked an income of P199.8 million, of which P137 million came from outsourced procurement, while PS-DBM’s revenue reached P1.02 billion, with sales accounting for P877 million and service fees as procuring agent contributing P21.6 million. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Jenina P. Ibañez