Senate bill seeks amendment to emergency procurement law

Senate bill seeks amendment to emergency procurement law

PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

A BILL has been filed in the Senate proposing to amend Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act after an ongoing committee investigation has shown gaps in provisions on emergency purchases.

Senator Francis N. Tolentino on Monday filed Senate Bill 2433 which seeks to update the law’s provisions on negotiated procurement by requiring documents that will prove a bidders’ financial capacity to deliver the requirements set by the government.

Under RA 9184, a negotiated procurement scheme may be conducted by the government directly with suppliers or contractors “in case of extraordinary circumstances,” on the condition that the chosen private firm is technically, legally, and financially capable.

Mr. Tolentino noted, however, that it failed to provide guidelines in determining whether a supplier or contractor is efficient enough to fulfill their contractual obligations.

The Senate Blue Ribbon committee has been investigating the Budget department’s procurement service for awarding P12 billion worth of contracts to a company which was only several months old and had only P650,000 in paid-up capital.

In one hearing, Huang Tzu Yen, chairman and president of the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., himself admitted that the company had no funds when it bagged government contracts, which was why it needed former economic presidential adviser Michael Yang to step in as guarantor and financier.

Under the proposed law, potential government suppliers, contractors, and consultants “are mandated to submit documents to prove their financial capacity,” whether under a negotiated or emergency procurement.

“The pandemic laid bare disparities in our laws, particularly those related to health care, travel, transportation, and procurement,” said Mr. Tolentino in a statement on Thursday. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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