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.
Bill seeks powers for Duterte to appoint village chiefs
Vince F. Nonato
An administration ally has gotten the ball rolling on the proposal to delay the barangay and youth council elections and empower President Rodrigo Duterte to fill up the ensuing vacancies.
Surigao del Norte 2nd Dist. Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, the House’s dangerous drugs committee chair, has filed House Bill No. 5359, in order to “support the President’s call to eliminate drugs and corruption” among the leaders of the country’s smallest political unit.
The said bill seeks to deem terminated the incumbent barangay officials who are currently serving in a holdover capacity after the village elections set for October 2016 was delayed by a year through Republic Act No. 10923.
In their place, the proposed measure simply provides that “officers-in-charge shall be appointed by the President.” The bill did not specify any qualifications for the possible appointees.
The contracts were “not as enormous,” as Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Jose Vicente Salazar would put it. But for veteran journalist Rosario Sofia Villa, it’s still a “big deal” for a government employee.
The small-value procurement of various projects for boardroom renovation, advertising consultancy, pest control, and even Windows software licensing emerged as the recurring theme of the House’s Monday inquiry into the November 9 suicide of ERC Director Francisco Villa Jr.
During the continuation of the committee on good government and public accountability’s probe, Villa teared up as she formally pinned down Salazar for her brother’s death.
“The day before he took his life, he told me: ‘Chairman Salazar is pushing me to sign illegal documents,'” Villa recounted “I said to Jun: ‘quit that job.'”