De Lima seeks probe into PITC’s questionable procurement of PPEs, deficiencies in funds utilization


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Congress to investigate the Philippine International Trading Corporation’s (PITC) questionable procurement of personal protective equipments (PPEs), as well as the delays and deficiencies in its procurement and utilization of funds from various source agencies (SAs).

De Lima filed Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 906 underscoring the need for PITC to explain its failure to return billions in public funds to SAs and to the national treasury.

“The PITC’s deficient and delayed delivery of its procurement responsibilities to various source agencies and disbursement of funds hampered the services and projects that are greatly needed in this time of pandemic,” she said.

“It is imperative for the PITC to explain its failure to return billions in public funds to source agencies and to the national treasury and justify its action of scheduling for bidding/procurement 99% of the unutilized fund transfers from CYs 2014 to 2020,” she added.

The 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) Report on the PITC noted deficiencies, delays, and irregularities in PITC procurement as it found a suspicious awarding of emergency-procurement of PPEs to a single supplier. 

Notably, contracts accessed on the PITC website showed that there were ten (10) separate contracts for different items worth ₱129.9 million, and a cross-check of the report’s reference number with the PITC website indicated that all contracts were awarded to Biosite Medical Instruments of Matina, Davao City.

Reports also revealed that the PITC website had about 10 distinct notices of award sent to Biosite on April 1, 2020, adding that a total of ₱129.803 million in contracts were awarded for surgical masks, shoe covers, N95 masks, head covers, gowns, goggles, gloves, face shields, coveralls, and aprons for the Department of Health (DOH).

The COA reported that with the total ₱186.584 million in the approved budget for the contract (ABC), the PITC awarded the procurement of PPEs to a bidder without taking into consideration the lowest price proposal for each item, which would have resulted in ₱2.166 million cost savings for the government.

In filing the Proposed Resolution, De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, stressed that it was not the first major irregularity for which PITC has been cited this year.

Reportedly, COA flagged PITCs failure to return unutilized funds totaling ₱11.022 billion from various SAs to the concerned SAs or to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

Instead of reverting back to the SAs which transferred the funds or to the BTr, these funds were “earmarked for procurements in CY 2021 and onwards.”

“Kailangang suriin ang ganitong mga kahina-hinalang transaksyon para masigurong walang hokus-pokus na naganap, at kung may kailangang panagutin sa paglimas ng kaban ng bayan; na sa halip na pakinabangan ng taumbayan ay napunta sa luho o bulsa ng iilan,” said De Lima. (30)

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