MANILA – The Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM), headed by Executive Director Dennis Santiago, on Friday turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) documents related to the procurement of the Department of Education’s laptops.
Also handed over were other contracts entered into by PS-DBM in previous years which were the subject of Commission on Audit (COA) findings.
“Isinumite po natin sa NBI ang mga dokumentong may kinalaman sa mga isyu na binigyang pansin ng COA upang ma-imbestigahan ng masusi ang mga ito. Patunay po ito na ang bagong administrasyon ng PS-DBM ay seryoso sa layuning matugunan ang audit findings ng COA, at malaman kung may irregularities ba ang nga ito o non-compliance sa umiiral na batas,” Santiago said.
Santiago earlier directed his office to conduct a thorough examination of COA’s findings, emphasizing that the mandate of the PS-DBM is to ensure a transparent and competitive procurement process.
“The NBI is a highly competent investigation authority to take over the matter to ensure that the probe would be fair, impartial, and independent. We do not want any room for suspicion,” Santiago said.
Santiago added that the move to request the NBI to step in was made after the examination showed alleged discrepancies in the initial findings, which are similar to COA’s observations.
“Maigi na ang NBI ang humawak para mahimay at masusing mabusisi ang mga dokumento, para rin makatutok ang mga empleyado sa trabaho at sa aming mandato,” Santiago said.
“Ayaw po namin na ang bagay na ito ay patagalin pa. Maraming masisipag, mahuhusay at dedikadong empleyado ang PS-DBM na naaapektuhan ng usaping ito, kaya maigi pong humingi ng tulong sa NBI upang matugunan sa lalong madaling panahon ang pag-resolba sa isyu, at matukoy kung sino ang mga dapat panagutin nang naaayon sa batas,” Santiago underscored.
Proposed abolition of the PS-DBM
Santiago also gave his stance on the call of some lawmakers to abolish the PS-DBM.
“We fully understand the sentiment of some groups and even by our own beloved legislators. We know where they are coming from as we share their sentiment on zero tolerance against irregularities in government transactions,” Santiago explained.
Santiago, however, added that these calls need to be balanced with the presence of honest and dedicated employees who have been working in the office for many years, coupled by the procurement efficiency and economy that PS-DBM provided to government agencies since 1978.
“Naniniwala ako na marami sa kawani ng PS-DBM ang nagtatrabaho ng may katapatan, husay, galing, talino at integridad. Karamihan sa kanila ay may pagtatangi at pagmamahal sa serbisyo, sa tao at sa bayan," Santiago pointed out.
PS-DBM operates a centralized procurement system for common use office supplies and equipment, and has made procurement undertakings efficient among agencies and offices of the government for decades.
It has also streamlined the procurement process with its Virtual Store, a centerpiece project of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), which has been recognized by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Instead of abolishing PS-DBM, Santiago highlighted his call for the office’s transformation.
“I want to continue and push for procurement reforms that we supported in 2002, but these reforms should now shift to greater heights. Under my watch, I look forward to achieving "procurement transformation", not only as to processes, procedures and products that we procure, but the overall transformation of PS-DBM relative to its structure, system and human resource. I want a solid and overall transformation of PS-DBM,” Santiago said, adding that he owes this to the honest and dedicated employees of PS-DBM and the Filipino people.
To realize this "procurement transformation", Santiago vowed to have a focused procurement coverage with common use supplies and equipment (CSE), rationalize CSEs to include motor vehicles and other commonly procured goods, upscale logistics and supply chain management, and streamline and run PhilGEPS to cover end-to-end eBidding, eShopping and eReverse Auction Platforms, among others. (PR)