Pimentel urges government agencies not to deal with PS-DBM

Paolo Romero – The Filipino Star

August 15, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines — At least one senator believes that government agencies should stop using the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for any procurement requests.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said yesterday that it would be best if the departments did not do business with the PS-DBM while Congress moves to restructure or abolish the controversial office.

“Perhaps the department secretary should decide that ‘I should form my own tender and award committee instead of giving the amount (for procurement) to the PS-DBM so that my department won’t not be embroiled in (controversies),” Pimentel, speaking partly in Filipino, said in an interview with dzBB radio.

He said such a decision would go a long way to reducing possible anomalies such as those recently discovered by the Audit Commission (COA) in the purchase by the PS-DBM of 2.4 billion pesos of computers. laptops for the Ministry of Education and 1.38 billion pesos. value of personal protective equipment that did not have required documentation, including Food and Drug Administration clearance.

“These cases, high profile incidents, should prompt HOPE or the ‘heads of procuring entities’ to exercise caution and caution,” Pimentel said. “If you can buy it, do it yourself.”

To elaborate on his point, the senator cited as an example the 42 billion peso corruption scandal that allegedly involved some officials of the previous administration’s PS-DBM and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.

Last week, Pimentel filed a resolution requesting an investigation into the COA’s reported purchase of overpriced laptops.

He said the PS-DBM was created by law to help harmonize and make efficient the purchase of common use items, such as office paper and pens, by government agencies, which would allow also to save taxpayers’ money.

Relevant departments are expected to rely on the institutional expertise and memory of the PS-DBM to let them do the procurement of supplies, he said.

However, the system has given rise to some bad practices that need to be corrected, and it does not help that the PS-DBM is like a “hidden” agency over which even the head of the budget does not have full control, said Pimentel said.

The PS-DBM distributes funds much larger than those of the annual budgets of some major departments and yet it is headed by a relatively obscure official, who is not controlled by the bicameral Appointments Commission, the senator pointed out.

Pimentel said his suggestion that agencies refrain from dealing with the PS-DBM is one of the “practical” steps that can be taken to prevent impropriety and even corruption.

Another suggestion is that President Marcos appoint a reformer to the agencies, who “loves the country” and works “like a good father or mother in managing the precious family funds” and ensuring transparency in PS-DBM transactions. , did he declare. .

He said it would be better if Congress abolished the PS-DBM or restructured it to simply become the solicitor for supplies and other items to buy.

“Perhaps we can just maintain a government agency that regularly releases prices for the benefit of all government agencies based on its research and serving as a guide. They can do it online. As you know, when PS-DBM was created, there was no internet yet,” Pimentel said.

Ashley C. Reynolds