Senators quiz Army, DND over P13.7-B fund transfers to PITC, PS-DBM photo Inquirer.net
Finance

Senators quiz Army, DND over P13.7-B fund transfers to PITC, PS-DBM

Nov 17, 2021, 6:22 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz

Columnist

A Senate budget hearing revealed that the Department of National Defense and Philippine Army have been parking their unliquidated funds with the Philippine International Trading Corp., and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management worth P13.7 billion for several years now.

PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon gave questioned the Philippine Army and the Department of National Defense for transferring (aka ‘parking’) unliquidated funds worth P13.7 billion to the Philippine International Trading Corp., an agency under the Department of Trade and Industry.

During the Senate plenary debates for the 2022 General Appropriations Bill, Lacson raised the 2020 report of the Commission on Audit showing at least P8.5 billion Philippine Army funds transferred to PITC from 2007 to 2020 that remain unaccounted for.

“There is a cumulative amount of P8.523 billion from 2007 to 2020, total unliquidated balances of the Philippine Army budget na nakalagak, parked with the PITC,” Lacson said.

For his part, Senator Drilon questioned the unliquidated balance of P5.2 billion from the fund transfers of the DND to the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service (PS-DBM) from 2014 to 2020

“Under the COA report, as of December 31, 2020, the unliquidated balance is P5.2 billion, which is the balance for transfers over the years from DND to PS-DBM,” Drilon said.

Unexplained balances

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (who had dropped his bid for the presidency), sponsored the DND’s proposed P297.1-billion budget for 2022 but failed to reconcile the balances that the Philippine Army has with the PITC as pointed out by Lacson.

Dela Rosa, citing the explanation of the DND, said the updated record of the department showed that it only has P617 million balance in the PS-DBM.

“Maybe the difference is that ‘yung sinasabi mong (what you mentioned) P5 billion are already delivered, most of it are already delivered to the procuring agency,” Dela Rosa said.

But Drilon is not satisfied with the figures provided by Dela Rosa, asking the latter to check the records with the DND.

“So really this is something that must be looked into on the basis of the statements of the good senator from Cavite (Lacson), it would appear that there is P8.5 billion from the Philippine Army alone [in] PITC,” Drilon said.

P10.2-B

“That puts us as about P10.2 billion of [DND] funds parked in both PS-DBM and PITC,” he added.

Drilon requested the DND to provide a written report on the unliquidated balances with the PITC and the PS-DBM.

“From this, we can craft with a policy, especially for the upcoming 2022 General Appropriations Act because this habit of passing on to PS-DBM and to PITC acquisition of common-use equipment gave rise to a lot of anomalies,” Drilon said.

Parked funds

Starting 2017, Drilon said the Philippine Army funds “parked” with the PITC have ballooned.

In 2016, he noted that the Philippine Army funds transferred to PITC was only P724 million.

It suddenly increased in 2017 with P2.5 billion, P3.6 billion in 2018, P3 billion in 2019, and P2.6 billion in 2020.

“So this is something that I think the public deserves an explanation as what is happening. We are the ones that flagged these practices and we need the data because we have to craft this special provision in the 2022 budget to stop this practice. It leads to corruption,” Drilon said, to which Dela Rosa concurred.

Tags: #DND, #Army, #PS-DBM, #PITC, #’parkedfunds’, #budgets


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