Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel has filed a bill seeking to permanently close the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service – the highly controversial office behind the P2.4 billion overpriced purchase of second-rate laptops for public school teachers.
“There’s absolutely no need for the Procurement Service, which has become wholly redundant, and which has merely served as a breeding ground for corruption,” Pimentel, House good government and public accountability committee vice chairperson, said.
Under Pimentel’s House Bill No. 5748, the Procurement Service would be abolished and affected employees would receive separation benefits under the Government Reorganization Law.
In the bill’s explanatory note, Pimentel pointed out that the Government Procurement Reform Law of 2003, or Republic Act No. 9184, had rendered the Procurement Service totally irrelevant and unnecessary.
“All government agencies, since 2003, have been empowered to establish their own Bids and Awards Committees (BACs) for their respective procurements through competitive bidding,” Pimentel said.
“The Procurement Service’s shutdown via an act of Congress would also give more meaning to the mandate of the Constitution for the State to take effective measures against corruption, and to maintain honesty and integrity in public service,” Pimentel said. Rio N. Araja
Once Pimentel’s bill is enacted, all prior year’s and current year’s advances for the purchase of supplies, materials, and equipment not available in the Procurement Service’s inventory would revert to the National Treasury.
The Procurement Service was created and attached to the DBM in 1978 via Letter of Instruction (LOI) No. 755, which established an integrated purchasing system for the national government and its instrumentalities.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Procurement Service was also embroiled in alleged irregularities in the buying of P42 billion worth of face masks, face shields, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies for the Department of Health.