THE SENATE Blue Ribbon Committee chair has filed separate bills seeking to abolish the Procurement Service of the Department of Management and Management (PS-DBM) and mandating stricter screening requirements for bidders in government projects.
Senate Bill 1802, filed on Jan. 30 by Senator Francis N. Tolentino, proposes the dissolution of the PS-DBM based on reports from the Commission on Audit showing disadvantageous contracts entered into by the agency.
The PS-DBM, primarily tasked to operate a centralized procurement system for common office supplies and equipment for government agencies, was also the subject of Senate investigations on procurement contracts for medical supplies and computers flagged by state auditors.
Though the PS-DBM operates on its own income, Mr. Tolentino said “the agency has, for several years already, been tainted with controversies in the performance of its mandate.”
Under the bill, procurement of goods will revert back to the different government departments, bureaus, and other offices, and local government units.
Senate Bill 1803, on the other hand, seeks to amend Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act to establish more stringent criteria on the eligibility of bidders in the procurement of goods and infrastructure projects for the government.
Mr. Tolentino said the current law “does not provide specific requirements for the qualification of a joint venture as a bidder,” other than those stated under implementing rules and regulations, which simply requires members of the joint venture to be governed by an agreement.
“The gap in the law has opened doors for corporations and entities whose primary purpose is not related to the procurement project to join biddings as long as they partner with bigger companies that have the financial capacity and previous project experience to enter into the project,” the senator said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“This was the case in the laptop procurement project conducted by the Procurement Service Department of Budget and Management for the Department of Education which was flagged by the Commission on Audit for being overpriced,” he said.
If passed, the joint venture must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and specify that the liability of each member will be collective. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan