Gov’t relaxes procurement rules

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    THE Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has updated its guidelines and simplified government procurement procedures to hasten the purchase and acquisition of essential items and services while the country is under a state of calamity and the entire Luzon region locked down until April 12 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    Resolution No. 003-2020, issued by the GPPB on March 23, laid down new regulations for negotiated procurements during emergency situations.

    The updated procedures were released at the heels of Congress’ grant to President Duterte of special powers that will allow him flexibility in realigning parts of the 2020 national budget to augment funding for COVID-19 strategies.

    The simplified rules cover, among others, the lease of real property or venues to be used as quarantine centers, evacuation sites, medical relief and aid distribution locations; the procurement of testing kits; and provision of food packs.

    Under the GPPB resolution, the Bids and Awards Committee will no longer be the sole body that can recommend revisions to the Annual Procurement Plan. The end-user units or other appropriate procuring units are now allowed to recommend revisions to the APP, which shall be submitted to the Head of the Procuring Entity (HoPE).

    The approval of the procurement program shall be subject to the availability of funds and would require a written confirmation requirement from the HoPE.

    HoPE is also allowed to authorize the end-user unit or procuring units to directly negotiate with a legally, technically, and financially capable supplier, contractor, or consultant; as well as delegate the awarding of contracts to any official of the procurement entity, except to those who have conflicts of interest.

    The projects and items to be procured should be aimed at addressing specific urgent needs in areas that are under an emergency situation, like the provision of food packs, the lease of venues or real properties for use as quarantine facilities, and for purchase of COVID-19 testing kits, among others.

    Due to the present emergency situation, the GPBB is also allowing for now the use of recently expired mayor’s or business permits and official receipts as proof of application and payment for the renewal of permits, and un-notarized Omnibus Sworn Statements (OSS), provided that new permits and notarized OSS are submitted after the awarding of the contracts.

    GPPB is composed of the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, as chairman, the director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, as co-chairman, with the secretaries of the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Finance, Trade and Industry, Health, National Defense, Education, Interior and Local Government, Science and Technology, Transportation, and Energy, and a representative from the private sector appointed by the President as members.

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