MANILA -- The country's defense chief vowed to further streamline and rid the procurement process of corruption.

“The package here is that we will get the best equipment, the process is transparent and fair for everyone and at the end of the day, everybody should be happy. With this forum, we may able to have a seamless, trouble-free procurement process. Let’s work together, we assure the proponents that we will make the procurement process to be fair and we will see to it that corruption to be eliminated, practices of the past will not bother us again because we will have a more credible defense especially through the PN,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in his speech at the Philippine Navy Procurement Forum on Tuesday.

The event, which was held at the Rizal Park Hotel, South Road Drive in Ermita, Manila, highlighted the means of collective effort as a primary key to ensure that the Navy’s procurement system is resistant to corruption -- with the proper institutions and mechanisms in place to deter it.

This system is integral to the PN to meet its national and regional security obligations, not only to address a wide range of threats, but also to become an indispensable tool for nation-building.

Around 300 participants from the Department of National Defense, General Headquarters, logistics officers from the Philippine Navy, Army and Air Force, as well as representatives from the local and foreign proponents of PN projects took part in this event.

The forum focused on the issues of procurement activities as part of the PN’s initiatives to strengthen systems and procedures to ensure check and balance and transparency in the procurement system.

“Today’s activity is a testament to the PN’s mission of ensuring that our procurement system is strategic and sustainable -- one that is not only responsive to our naval requirements, but more importantly free from corruption and other forms of malpractices," PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said.

The highlights of the forum are the inputs shared by the invited guest speakers, as well as the discussions that underscored the importance of a responsive procurement system for the strategic and operational needs of the Navy.

Col. De Silva Joe Ronesh, Defense Attaché of Singapore to the Philippines, shared the best practices within Singapore’s procurement systems, anti-corruption framework and innovative ways for acquisition and procurement that may be considered by the PN.

Meanwhile, the Navy's experiences on the procurement process were discussed by Commodore Alberto B. Carlos, the chairman of PN Bids and Awards Committee. He said the PN will establish a one-stop shop for all procurement needs of the Navy.

This is to ensure not only streamlined processes but of the system to be unified and centralized to avoid being tainted with any assumptions.

DND Assistant Secretary Jesus Rey R. Avilla highlighted the importance of the AFP’s Defense Acquisition System (DAS) on the PN’s acquisition to respond more effectively and efficiently to security challenges and defense needs.

Meanwhile, Director Amanella D. Arevalo of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) comprehensively appraised participants on DBM Execution of CY2019 Budget through the Annual Cash Based Appropriations, which puts emphasis on accelerating program delivery. (PNA)