MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has echoed the side of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez that there are no “parked” government funds at the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), an attached agency of DTI.
 
In a Palace briefing Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte sees no issue in the PITC as the alleged PHP33-billion “parked” funds from different government agencies are not idle but undergoing different stages of procurement.
 
Some senators have called out PITC to return to the national treasury around PHP33 billion “parked” funds or undelivered projects to various government agencies.
 
PITC serves as a procurement body for government offices.
 
Roque said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana attested during a meeting with Duterte Monday that the Department of National Defense (DND) has PHP11 billion worth of projects coursed through PITC, and those are ongoing projects.
 
Lopez already clarified the delays in the delivery of projects procured by PITC are in the terms of reference (TORs), which are done by the government agencies and not the PITC.
 
Upon the completion of TOR, he added PITC is fast to deliver the projects once biddings are successful.
 
The DTI chief said PITC also made reforms such as returning the fund to the Treasury if the project had two years of series of failed biddings.
 
“What will happen to the equipment procurement requirement of several agencies if they return the balance funds? These were approved budgets and must be implemented. Otherwise, agency operations will be affected,” Lopez earlier told reporters.
 
Roque said the DTI, the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had a meeting Monday to discuss the allegations against the state trading firm.
 
He said the DTI, DOF, and DBM will review all the projects for procurement at the PITC to make sure these are ongoing projects and not abandoned by the agencies.
 
Funds for those projects that were already abandoned by government agencies shall be returned to the national treasury, he added. (PNA)