Speaker seeks to loosen procurement rules for calamities, cheap purchases
Vince F. Nonato
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed a bill proposing to loosen restrictions on negotiated procurement in cases of “extreme urgency and necessity,” as well as allow the government to skip public bidding in purchasing cheaper goods.
House Bill No. 5521 seeks to amend several provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which was enacted in 2003.
The law considers negotiated procurement and direct contracting as alternative procurement methods to public bidding. The former refers to the method used in extraordinary circumstances such as during the failure of bidding and in times of emergency.
Under Alvarez’s bill, negotiated procurement will be allowed “before, during, or after a calamity.” Currently, this mode is applicable “during a state of calamity,” which requires an actual declaration by the affected government unit.
Alvarez said in his explanatory note that current regulations “unduly delay and hamstring the delivery of services” in times of calamity.
Meanwhile, the measure also provides for an additional criteria to resort to direct contracting, which currently sees the agency ask for a price quotation from the exclusive supplier of goods of critical or proprietary nature.