The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has rejected a proposal to support President Duterte for a directive to immediately return 33.3 billion PZ “parked” at the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC). tailored for urgent needs such as the Covid-19 response.
Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado said on Sunday that DBM has no legal basis to support such an EDC proposal. He told BusinessMirror that he had sent a letter to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III last Friday in which he informed the latter that the “fund transfer case in question”, which is considered by PITC to be fiduciary liabilities, is “better classified as an implementation problem among agencies. . and PITC, not a budget problem. “
A divergence of views between the Department of Finance and DBM can further complicate matters related to PITC, the little-known commercial division of the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI). The PITC became controversial after senators – citing findings from state auditors – said they were retaining £ 33.4 billion of idle funds from spending on various government agencies’ procurement in an apparent attempt to circumvent budget requirements to refund money to the Treasury when they remain unreleased during the year.
In a message to BusinessMirror on Sunday, Avisado explained: “Once the funds are transferred by government agencies to PITC, they become part of PITC’s corporate funds.”
Moreover, Avisado said it also noted in its response to Dominguez that PITC is already a “self-sustaining government corporation” as it no longer receives budget support from DBM in the form of grants and equity.
He also pointed out that a case of fiduciary obligations that is “outside the scope of DBM” can best be overseen by the Department of Commerce and Industry – the parent agency of PITC – or the Department of Finance-Corporate Affairs (DOF-CAG).
“Organizationally, PITC is attached to DTI, and the DTI Secretary sits as the Chairman of the PITC Council. Moreover, DOF-CAG supervises the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity [government-owned and -controlled corporations] operations. Therefore, operational oversight can best be exercised by DTI or DOF-CAG, especially for fiduciary obligations that are outside the remit of DBM, ”he said.
Avisado added that the documents attached to the DOF letter also “do not provide information on the state of funds transferred to PITC, whether they are completed, ongoing or abandoned projects.”
The head of DBM said: “Only such funds held by PITC, so determined, will be eligible for withdrawal and subsequent return to BTr [Bureau of the Treasury],” He said.
Willing to clarify whether Dominguez had already replied to his letter, Avisado assumed that the letter had yet to reach Dominguez, given that he might not have signed it until late Friday afternoon.