The GPPB recently approved Resolution No. 15-2021 fully implementing, among others, the mandatory submission of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) Certificate of Platinum Registration and Membership (“Platinum Certificate”) in Competitive Bidding and Limited Source Bidding under Section 8.5.2, in relation to Section 25.2, and Section 54.6 of the 2016 revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9184.

Through its full implementation, Procuring Entities (PEs) can conduct the eligibility check expeditiously, with ease and transparency, taking into account that all prospective bidders shall only be required to submit during bid submission their Platinum Certificate in lieu of Class A Eligibility Documents covered by Section 8.5.2 of the 2016 revised IRR of RA No. 9184. This will ensure efficiency in the procurement process while maintaining accountability and availability of accurate data from the system. It shall also pave the way for more suppliers to participate in the bidding process by providing a cost effective and efficient way of doing business with government.

It may be recalled that by virtue of GPPB Circular Nos. 03-2016 and 07-2017, the full implementation of the mandatory submission of the Platinum Certificate has been deferred or suspended due to registration and technical functionality concerns of prospective bidders and the PhilGEPS, respectively. As a result, the bidders were allowed to submit during bid submission either their Platinum Certificate if registered, Class A Eligibility Documents if unregistered, or a combination thereof. Over the years, this has been the source of many queries from both PEs and bidders alike given the varying implementation of this requirement.

During the review of the proposed guidelines for the pilot implementation of the electronic bidding the status of the PHILGEPS registration process was reviewed showing that the entire process for the updating of the Platinum Certificate, which requires the uploading of the eligibility documents and entering data on PhilGEPS, may be accomplished in as fast as an hour and a half. This data is supplemented by the increasing trend of Platinum registrations annually from 19,533 Platinum registrations in 2017 to 23,631 registrations in 2020, which, as of 31 May 2021, has totaled to 104,075 registrations. Because of this, the PHILGEPS supported the move to lift the suspension and fully implement the mandatory submission of the Platinum Certificate.

To give the PHILGEPS sufficient time to make the necessary adjustment, coordination work began on 25 June 2021 where the GPPB-TSO met with the PhilGEPS to discuss its processing capacity relative to the status of implementation of the Platinum Certificate. Similarly, PEs and bidders need to be properly apprised of the full implementation of the mandatory submission of the Platinum Certificate, thus, the same will be effective on 01 January 2022.

GPPB Resolution No. 15-2021 likewise reaffirmed the policy enunciated under Sections 23.1 and 24.1 of the same IRR allowing for the acceptance of a recently expired Mayor’s Permit together with the official receipt as proof of renewal and clarified that the acceptance thereof shall only be for the purpose of updating the Platinum Certificate. The updating of a Platinum Certificate requires the uploading of the most current and updated Class A Eligibility Documents covered by Section 8.5.2 of the same IRR during the one-year period of its validity. This would address the policy gaps in the implementation of the electronic procurement system vis-a-vis the issues and concerns of regulatory agencies issuing permits and licenses such as the Mayor’s Permit, which negatively impacts competition and transparency in the procurement process. Through this, the implementation of the mandatory submission of the Platinum Certificate becomes more effective and operable.

To further enhance and secure the validity of the Platinum Certificate and the documents supporting its issuance, the GPPB updated the Platinum Certificate to reflect additional guarantees of the bidder and provide an automatic suspension clause for its validity until such time that all of the documents supporting its issuance have been updated. Anent thereto, the conduct of post-qualification shall likewise include a review of its veracity, authenticity, and validity.

Additionally, the same Resolution has distinguished the requirement for the submission of Platinum Certificate in case of Negotiated Procurement under Two-Failed Bidding from other alternative methods of procurement, such that the requirement for its submission shall now be subject to the determination of the Bids and Awards Committee after the conduct of a mandatory review, in accordance with Item V(D)(1)(b) of Annex H of the same IRR or the Consolidated Guidelines for the Alternative Methods of Procurement.

Finally, the foregoing policy changes were reflected in the amendments of Sections 8.5.2, 23.1(a)(ii), 23.3, 24.1(a)(ii), 24.4.3, 34.3, and 54.6 of the 2016 revised IRR of RA No. 9184, Items IV(G)(1) and V(D)(1)(b) as well as Appendix “A” of Annex “H” thereof, Items 4 and 6 of the Guidelines for the Use of the Government of the Philippines - Official Merchants Registry, and Item 1 of Sections VIII and IX of the 6th Edition of the Philippine Bidding Documents for Goods and Infrastructure Projects.