Give us a chance, we’ll clean procurement service, DBM asks Congress amid abolition calls
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday appealed to Congress to give it a chance to “clean” its procurement service (PS) amid calls for its abolition.
DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman made the appeal during the first day of deliberations of the House committee appropriations on the proposed P5.2-trillion national budget for 2023.
While she said she defers to the wisdom of Congress on the PS-DBM’s fate, Pangandaman touted how the unit was able to incur as much as P18 billion in savings for the government from 2017 to 2019.
“One of the benefits of the PS-DBM is actually the savings that the government incurred during that time, which is worth P18 billion,” Pangandaman said when asked about her take on the abolition calls.
“So, I think if we give a chance to PS-DBM and if we clean the process and the system of the procurement of the PS-DBM, maybe we can go back to its old glory,” she added.
The DBM chief gave assurance that the new head of the PS-DBM, Atty. Dennis Santiago is “very respectable in the area” and that the agency already has programs on how to fix the procurement unit.
“So, if I may, if you will be giving us a chance to, at least, clean PS-DBM, we will be highly happy with that,” Pangandaman said.
With this response, the House committee on appropriation directed Pangamdaman to submit a written statement on the matter.
PS-DBM is currently in hot water for the procurement of allegedly outdated and overpriced laptops for the Department of Education in 2021.
Also during the height of the pandemic in 2020, the PS-DBM lost a lot of credibility for its procurement of overpriced personal protective equipment.
These issues spurred calls to abolish the procurement service. Senator Imee Marcos was one of those calling for the abolition of the PS-DBM, which was created during the administration of her late father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Marcos had filed Senate Bill No. 1123 seeking to abolish the PS-DBM supposedly for being responsible for questionable procurement contracts in government.
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has likewise filed a counterpart measure seeking to return government agencies the role of purchasing their own common-use supplies, rendering the PS-DBM as moot.
During a Senate inquiry on Tuesday on the procurement of overpriced DepEd laptops, the PS-DBM has owned up to errors in the documents for the purchase of the said equipment.
The investigation was initiated after the Commission on Audit flagged the allegedly “outdated and pricey” laptops meant for teachers to implement distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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