Despite the reforms, the government procurement system remains plagued by several issues such as weak budget allocation and corruption.
These issues prompted Rep. Evelina Escudero of Sorsogon to demand changes to the procurement law to enhance transparency.
The law Republic 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, earned citations from multilateral institutions, such as the World Bank as a world-class legislation.
The World Bank identified the combination of weak budget allocation process, intricate and non-transparent budget execution and the predominance of patron-client relationships in politics and the bureaucracy as factors that facilitate corruption in government procurement, Escudero said.
“Other problems of the present system that need to be addressed are lack of organic procurement body in government agencies, low vendor turnout because bid contracts are not posted ahead of time, and absence of contract administration mechanism within the solicitation system,” said Escudero, a vice chairperson of the committees on cooperatives development and on higher and technical education.
The filed House Bill 6246 designed to amend RA 9184 to expedite the government procurement process.
The bill is now pending at the committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Isidro Ungab of the Third District, Davao City.
“First, the bill seeks to amend Section 7 of RA 9184, pertaining to Procurement Planning And Budgeting Linkage, so that the annual procurement plan of the national government agencies shall conform with the National Development Plan, and in case of the local government unit, with the local development,” she noted.
“Second, the bill seeks to amend Section 13 of RA 9184, pertaining to Observers in the Bids and Awards Committee, so that the BAC observers are members in good standing of the sector, discipline or non-government organization they represent as duly certified by the head of the sector, discipline or organization to which they belong.”
“Third, the bill seeks to amend Section 21 of RA 9184, pertaining to advertising and contents of the invitation to bid, so that in line with the principle of transparency and competitiveness, all invitations to bid for contracts under competitive bidding shall be posted on the entity’s website and be advertised by the procuring entity in such manner and for such length of time as may be necessary under the circumstances, in order to ensure the widest possible dissemination thereof.
The measure proposes the holding of pre-bid conference or conferences within 30 days after the last day of posting of the invitation to bid and within a reasonable period before the deadline for receipt of bids to allow prospective bidders to adequately prepare their bids, which shall be specified in the implementing rules and regulations.