Artificial spending via ‘pasa-load’ procurement bared

MANILA Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday said the government should end the practice of artificial spending by preventing the transfer of allotments from one agency to another to cover up the failure to spend.

In a statement, Recto said this pasa-load scheme merely parks the funds in another agency, resulting in unspent public money, which subverts the essence of cash budgeting to accelerate disbursement.

Ang nangyayari kasi ngayon, para lang masabi na 'obligated' na ang allotment ay pinapasa ito sa ibang ahensya. Ginagawa ito upang maipagmalaki na obligated na ang isang pondo, at hindi na ma-revert back sa Treasury (The funds are passed on to another agency to make it seem like the allotment was obligated. This is done to prove that the funds are obligated and won't be reverted to the Treasury), Recto said.

This creates the illusion of money spent when what happened was the budgetary equivalent of passing the buck, he added.

The senator said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP), for example, pass the responsibility of procurement to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management instead of conducting the bidding process themselves.

He further noted that in the books of the AFP or PNP, the funds have been obligated, when in reality, it is not the case.

One favorite repository of parked allotments is the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) Ang tanong: Ano ang competence ng mga ahensyang ito (The question is, what is the competence of these agencies) to, say, conduct a due diligence-compliant procurement of highly-specialized goods like trains, ships, planes, and automobiles?, Recto said.

But this transfer of obligational authority to outsource procurement has not expedited the purchase of goods and services, according to COA itself, he added.

He also cited the case of the PNP, wherein it engaged the services of the PITC to procure equipment amounting to PHP1.35 billion but managed to deliver only PHP137.5 million worth of purchases by end of last year, or 1/10th of the amount.

As of December 2018, the PNP still has to collect about PHP5.08 billion worth of projects from PS-DBM intended for the procurement of common-use supplies, materials and various equipment, military and police supplies, and municipal police stations.

The Commission on Audit (COA) 2018 audit report for PITC noted that the corporation has received about PHP30.63 billion worth of fund transfers from various agencies.

Meanwhile, the COA report for PS-DBM in the same year said the agency has PHP17.04 billion due to various government agencies for the procurement of various items and projects.

Dapat matigil na ang ganitong (We need to put an end to such) 'lateral transfer' of funds whose intent is to beat the clock, a pasa-load scheme to extend the life of an appropriation about to expire, Recto said.

Dapat gamitin ng parehong kapulungan ng Kongreso ang oversight powers nito (Congress should use its oversight powers) during the budget implementation to determine the real status of an appropriation, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency