Government Procurement Policy Board holds first ever Procurement Forum
The Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) held their first ever Procurement Forum this morning at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
With procurement delays as the most common reason for bottlenecks in project implementation, the forum aimed to "demystify the procurement process so everyone [...] might see it as an ally, not the enemy," said Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno in his opening speech.
In his speech, the budget chief recounted, from memory, the history of procurement reform in the Philippines. In fact, it was Secretary Diokno himself who personally sought the issuance of an Executive Order on Procurement Reform. This would later become the basis for the current Procurement Law, the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), which was passed during the first year of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo`s term.
Unfortunately, according to Secretary Diokno, the law was not implemented properly.
"Things remained business as usual," the Secretary said.
"The Procurement Service did not develop into an efficient, professional institution. [...] At the same time, PhilGEPS, that is the electronic part of the procurement reform, did not keep up with the advances in technology," he shared.
According to him, this was the same "state of affairs" they had encountered when President Rodrigo Duterte took office on July 2016.
"This is a huge shame because the Procurement Law was supposed to be, at that time, according to World Bank, ADB, USAID, one of the best in the world," he added.
Secretary Diokno then enumerated the reforms they have implemented since he took office. This included capacity building for procurement practitioners, improvement of the online procurement portal, streamlining of procurement processes, and emphasis on early procurement activities, among others.
The Secretary`s speech was followed by talks and workshop activities related to procurement planning, particularly on project costing and technical specifications writing.
This is part of the thrust of Government Procurement Policy Board-Technical Support Office (GPPB-TSO) to focus more on procurement management, not just the bidding process or rules. This relates to how agencies are prepared to manage procurement by emphasising the importance of procurement planning and teaching them tools on preparing technical specifications and provide an accurate and reliable cost estimates.
The forum was organized by the GPPB-TSO, an attached agency of the DBM, and was well-attended by various representatives from National Government Agencies and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations.