Solon pushes for abolition of controversial PS-DBM

Published September 20, 2021, 10:21 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez has stressed the need to scrap the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) following the issues and controversies hounding the government procurement agency.

In filing House Bill No. 10222, Rodriguez said national government agencies—including state-owned or controlled corporations, colleges and universities and local government units (LGUs)—should revert back to the practice of doing their own procurement of supplies through their own Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

The Cagayan de Oro City representative said the DBM-PS has faced “many issues and controversies,” the most recent of which was the transfer of P42-billion by the Department of Health (DOH) for face shields, face masks, personal protective equipment, and other COVID-19 pandemic-related purchases.

“The PS-DBM has also been hounded by allegations of improper procedure and overpriced acquisitions,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the bill seeks to permanently abolish the DBM’s procurement arm which was created to take advantage of economies of scale by handling purchases of common-use supplies and equipment.

He pointed out that Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, have made the PS-DBM irrelevant and redundant.

“However, the passage of RA 9184 undermines the mandate of the DBM-PS through the inclusion of relevant provisions that strengthen the procurement service of national government agencies,” he stressed.

One such provision is the creation of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) and the BAC in each agency, the solon explained.

He said one of the tasks of the GPPB is to strengthen the BACs by ensuring “that procuring entities regularly conduct procurement training programs and prepare a procurement operation manual for all offices and agencies of the government.”

Under the bill, the lawmaker said PS-DBM personnel who would be affected by its abolition would be paid separation and retirement benefits under existing laws.

Furthermore, all funds transferred or advanced by agencies to DBM-PS would revert back to the National Treasury. No further procurement by DBM-PS would be allowed.

The bill also seeks a one year transition period of which the DBM-PS would be tasked to make an inventory of purchased supplies and deliver these to the agencies.