Drilon wants PITC abolished

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    SENATE minority leader Franklin Drilon yesterday pushed for the abolition of the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) as he cited the growing list of irregularities it is involved in on top of the fact it merely duplicates the functions of other government agencies.

    In an interview with dzBB, Drilon said the PITC must be abolished as it has entered into “illegal and immoral” activities such as keeping “parked” funds from various government agencies and earning interests for itself by using the parked funds to enter into money markets.

    He said the Governance Commission on Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) must look into PITC’s activities, including its non-remittance to the National Treasury of the interests earned from the parked funds it placed in money markets.

    Also, Drilon said, government agencies can make do without the PITC as have their respective Bids and Awards Committee, while the Department of Budget and Management has its procurement service which can be tapped for procurement.

    Drilon earlier exposed that the PITC has P33.4- billion in parked funds from a number of government agencies which have coursed their procurement of supplies through the subsidiary agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

    In a statement on Saturday, Drilon said the PITC has violated the government auditing code by keeping at least P1 billion in interest income from the P1.4-billion it earned from the P33.4 billion parked funds entered in money markets.

    “However, only 28 percent of which or P392,575,316 were remitted to the government covering the same period (from 2016 to 2019) which is a clear violation of PD 1445 (Government Auditing Code),” Drilon said in the statement.

    Drilon, during Sunday’s radio interview, said it is high-time that the PITC be abolished.

    “We must abolish (PITC) because it is only (a) duplication (of functions) and they are engaged in illegal and immoral activities… They are causing injury to the government as they have been keeping unused funds),” Drilon said.

    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has denied that there were parked funds at the PITC.

    Drilon lamented that Lopez seems to be turning a blind eye and a deaf ear on PITC’s illegal activities since what he has against PITC were all based on an audit report by the Commission on Audit.

    With these, Drilon said PITC officials can also be held liable with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act since it used the parked funds without the permission of the concerned government agencies.

    PITC was established on July 21, 1973 through Presidential Decree (PD) 252 to trade with Socialist and Other Centrally Planned Economy Countries (SOCPEC) such as the former USSR and China. In 1977, its mandate was expanded via PD 1071 to be one of the drivers of Philippine trade worldwide.

    Drilon said PITC’s charter likewise mentioned that it should be helping small businesses have the expertise in international trading but it instead delved to procurement which is not included in its mandate.