P8.5B unliquidated Army funds, parked at PITC, based on COA report — Lacson

P8.5B unliquidated Army funds, parked at PITC, based on COA report — Lacson

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — At least P8.523 billion in funds of the Philippine Army
remains unliquidated or unaccounted for with the Philippine
International Trading Corp. (PITC), Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson
disclosed Tuesday.

Lacson cited figures from the 2020 Commission on Audit report that
showed the PITC received some P15.927 billion from 2007 to 2020 from
the Philippine Army alone, with total unliquidated balances in the
amount of P8.523 billion.

“Every year, nag-scrounge tayo sa pondo para sa modernization, pati
revised modernization program ng AFP, ang sabi natin cause for delay
ang funding gaps kasi di napopondohan. Yet we find out from the COA
report may unliquidated balances of P8.5 billion just for the
Philippine Army (Every year, we scrounge for funds for the AFP’s
modernization, even for the AFP’s revised modernization program. The
cause of delay was due to the funding gaps. Yet we find out from the
COA report that there are unliquidated balances of P8.5 billion, just
for the Philippine Army),” he said at his interpellation of the
Department of National Defense’s budget for 2022.

“Hindi biro-biro ang amounts involved (The amounts involved are no
joke),” he added.

Worse, he said the PITC failed to deliver, as records showed its
deliveries were virtually zero – at 0.01 percent in 2019 and 0.22
percent in 2020.

Yet, he said the PITC gained some P640 million from the Army’s
P15.9-billion “deposit” due to the four-percent service fee that the
PITC charges.

Because of these, Lacson – who chairs the Senate defense committee and
is the presidential standard bearer of Partido Reporma – said it is
time the DND and AFP do their own procuring.

“I think the DND and the AFP are more capable of procuring… Mas
mabuti (It would be better) if they do the procurement themselves,
instead of depositing these amounts to the PITC,” he said. “The data
would show that transferring the procurement to the PITC isn’t
working.” (ai/mtvn)

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