PBBM orders consolidation of amendments to procurement law

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

August 22, 2023, 4:54 pm

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(Bongbong Marcos Facebook)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (Bongbong Marcos Facebook)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the consolidation of the proposed amendments to the decades-old Republic Act (RA) 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said Tuesday.

Marcos gave the directive in a sectoral meeting at Malacañan Palace with Cabinet officials, including Pangandaman.

“During our meeting with the President, we were directed to have a consolidated amendments to the existing GPRA that we will present to House and the Senate,” Pangandaman said in a Palace briefing.

Isusulat lang po namin ng maayos ito in a form of an amendment doon sa mga provision, sa mga (We will just write it properly in a form of an amendment to the provisions, to those) existing provisions and then we will sit down with the House and Senate counterparts,” she added.

Pangandaman said the specific amendments to the GPRA’s existing provisions would likely be released within two weeks.

Stressing that “a lot of amendments” will be made, Pangandaman said the proposed revisions are divided into six items -- innovative procurement methods; efficiency in the procurement process; procurement planning and budgeting; digitalization and innovation; green procurement; and amendments to miscellaneous provisions.

Pangandaman said the proposed amendments aim to address issues that hurt public service delivery and address the underspending of some government agencies.

“We have also been hounded by controversies linked to the Philippine procurement system. That’s why our President is correct that we need to make government procurement more attuned to our changing times. Procurement affects us everyday, not just us in the government but the Filipino people,” Pangandaman said.

“Of our total national budget, up to 25 percent po diyan (of those) is done to procurement. So, for this year, our total budget is PHP5.268 trillion so it’s roughly PHP1.3 trillion. So, it’s quite a huge amount. These are the reasons that these reforms have become necessary albeit tedious,” she added.

Procurement Service-DBM executive director Dennis Santiago said the proposed amendments to GPRA will make the procurement “more efficient,” noting that a government agency that complies with legal, technical and financial requirements may carry out a direct acquisition with supplier, subject to limitations.

Santiago said some of the government agencies are also complaining about the tedious process in the delivery of goods and services.

Pangandaman said rapid technology transformation over the past two decades and the pandemic “propelled the urgency for digital transactions in the country.”

During his second State of the Nation Address on July 24, Marcos said enacting a new government procurement law and government auditing code would strengthen the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, which is deemed as a "transformative" solution amid the changing times. (PNA)