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Monday, June 24, 2024

Angara says high time to update 21-Year-Old Procurement Law

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Senator Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara has emphasized the need to replace the 21-year-old Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), which was once lauded as “world-class legislation” by the World Bank.

Angara highlighted the law’s exploitation by scheming minds as a critical reason for the overhaul.

President Marcos is expected to review and sign Senate Bill No. 2593, known as the “New Government Procurement Act” (NGPA), into law soon. This bill aims to replace the GPRA, originally sponsored by Angara’s father, the late former Senate President Edgardo Angara.

The GPRA has long served as the comprehensive guide for all public fund transactions across the government. However, Angara pointed out the urgency to curb illegal practices and eliminate opportunities for corruption in government transactions.

He said the updated law will enhance efficiency, prevent wastage, and boost investor confidence. It will also promote greater competitiveness, efficiency, professionalism, accountability, and sustainability in the government procurement process.

The NGPA introduces new procurement modes to offer greater flexibility for procuring entities. These include competitive dialogue, unsolicited offers with bid matching, direct acquisition, direct sales (pasabuy), and direct procurement for science, technology, and innovation.

A notable feature of the NGPA is the introduction of the Most Economically Advantageous Responsive Bid (MEARB), which includes a pre-determined quality standard for goods as part of the criteria for selecting the winning bid.

The NGPA also shortens the period of action on procurement activities from 90 days to 60 days. This starts from the opening up of bids to the awarding of the contract.

“As it is in all transactions, transparency is key to ensuring that everything is being done, every step of the way is aboveboard,” Angara stated.

The proposed legislation was the result of months of consultations with all stakeholders, particularly the Executive branch, to create a law that will save government money and improve delivery of basic public services.

The NGPA has received support from the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council and President Marcos. The reconciled version of the bill was approved by the bicameral conference committee and ratified by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on May 22, 2024.

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