Sen. Bam Aquino wants to fix the government’s procurement system to address underspending in the national budget and enable government agencies to better deliver services to the public.
“I don’t think we will be able to spend properly, even with the best intentions, if we don’t reform the Procurement Act,” said Sen. Bam during the briefing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on the proposed P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017.
“Our taxpayer’s money should be spent efficiently and Filipinos should see results. Let’s fast track our Procurement Act reforms,” the senator said.
According to Sen. Bam, a number of Cabinet secretaries have raised their concerns over the strict Procurement Act, including Transportation Secretary Art Tugade during the initial emergency powers hearing.
“In the emergency powers hearing, a large part of the discussion is about procurement,” the senator added.
During the hearing of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam said DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones mentioned that she has assigned an Assistant Secretary just to focus on the tedious procurement process.
“Political will and good intentions are important. But if people are shackled by policies, it leads to unwillingness to spend on the development of the country,” Sen. Bam emphasized.
For his part, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno revealed they plan to introduce several reforms to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Reform Act.
“We might allow just one failed bid and then negotiate,” said Diokno.
However, Sen. Bam said lawmakers are willing to make amendments to the law so the country can have an effective procurement process for the long-term.