Senator quizzes DOTr for tapping PS-DBM in infrastructure project deals
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Monday asked pointed questions to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) over its decision to tap the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) in some of its infrastructure projects.
“Based on your submission, ano itong procurement activity niyo na ililipat niyo sa [you will transfer to] PS-DBM? The famous PS-DBM?” BInay asked DOTr during the hearing on the agency’s proposed 2022 budget in the Senate.
DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Giovanni Lopez explained that the agency tapped the help of the PS-DBM in its infrastructure projects, particularly concerning the railway sector as well as the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), to expedite the process.
“May mga infra projects po tayo pagdating sa rail sector at dito po sa BRT kung saan po humihingi tayo ng tulong sa PS-DBM para mapabilis ang procurement,” Lopez said, adding that the DOTr did not transfer funds to the PS-DBM.
(We have infra projects in the railway sector as well as for the BRT where we sought help from the PS-DBM to expedite the procurement.)
“Kinikilala natin ang institutional capacity ng PS-DBM to make the procurement process wherein everyday kaya nila gawin ang procurement process unlike the Department of Transportation, meron pong ibang ibang gawain maliban sa pagpo-procure ng mga proyekto,” he added.
(We recognize the institutional capacity of the PS-DBM to make the procurement process wherein every day they can undertake the procurement process unlike the Department of Transportation which has other things to do aside from the procurement of projects.)
Binay then asked how much service fee the DOTr has paid PS-DBM for its help in the procurement of the projects.
Lopez said the service fee depends on the amount of the contract and the “success” of procurement.
“When we started drafting the MOA (memorandum of agreement) with PS-DBM some time in 2017 po huminigi ng mas malaking (asked for bigger) increase [ng percentage],” he added.
Lopez said the DOTr “fixed” the service fee under the 2017 MOA to one percent of the amount of the contract to be awarded.
The 2017 MOA Lopez was referring to designated the PS-DBM as a “procurement agent,” according to the DOTr’s presentation to the Senate.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan explained that the MOA limits the authority of the PS-DBM in the contracts.
The DOTr, according to Batan, “does not obligate and does not disburse funds” to the PS-DBM.
Under the said MOA, PS-DBM “only undertook procurement” while the DOTr issued the notice of award, signed the contract, and issued the notice to proceed.
For projects funded through official development assistance (ODA), Batan said the DOTr sought prior concurrence from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the bidding documents, bid evaluation result, and contracts among others.
Binay then asked if the projects involving the PS-DBM faced any delays.
So far, the DOTr has tapped the help of the PS-DBM for 23 contracts.
“Hindi na po sa amin galing ito, galing na po sa ADB at galing na rin sa JICA. Ilan po ito sa mga pinakamabilis nilang procurement considering the size and complexity ng kontrata po na pino-procure,” Batan said, noting that the DOTr has tapped the help of the PS-DBM for 23 contracts since 2017.
(This did not come from us but from the ADB and JICA. These are among their fastest procurements considering the size and complexity of the contracts.)
The DOTr, however, still has a pending contract involving the PS-DBM, which is for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, and commissioning of the Terrestrial Trunked Radio System, according to Batan.
The procurement was undertaken in 2015 and the contract amounts to nearly P60.5 million.
“Hindi pa completed ang kontrata na ‘yan dahil po meron po siyang maintenance component na ongoing pa po kaya hindi pa sarado ang kontrata sa PS-DBM,” Batan explained.
(The contract is not yet completed because there’s a maintenance component so this is still ongoing that’s why the contract is not yet closed.)
The said contract is part of a previous MOA in “covering various rehabilitation projects,” which are “operational and currently being used” by the Metro Rail Transit, according to the DOTr’s presentation.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.