Cebu City mayor vetoes measure to livestream gov’t bidding process
CEBU CITY—Mayor Michael Rama of this city has rejected a measure to livestream the bidding process in what was supposed to be seen as a move to promote transparency in governance here.
In a veto letter sent to the city council dated Sept. 5, Rama said the ordinance authored by Councilor Rey Gealon, which the legislative body approved last Aug. 16, violates the Data Privacy Act of 2012, supersedes the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Government Procurement Reform Act, and compromises the general welfare clause provided under the Local Government Code.
Rama said that while he agreed with the council’s goal to promote transparency and accountability, he had to veto the ordinance as it “clearly runs counter and anathema to the explicit provisions as well as the spirit, intent and purposes of the Data Privacy Act of 2012” and “consequently, it is also prejudicial to the welfare of the bidders.”
According to the mayor, the ordinance would have ended up violating the bidders’ right to privacy, as their “personal and sensitive pieces of information” embedded in their technical, financial and other related documents would be read out loud during the opening of their bids.
Rama also pointed out that these individuals have yet to enter into any contract with the city government.
No override move
The city council, led by Vice Mayor Raymond Garcia, did not override Rama’s veto as it merely noted the mayor’s letter when it was read in the agenda during its session last week.
Sought for comment, Gealon told reporters that his ordinance was meant to uphold the people’s right “to know how the bidding process is undertaken towards the utilization of public funds” but would submit to the council’s “wisdom” not to override the veto.
The mayor has noted that the Government Procurement Reform Act’s IRR does not categorically require livestreaming the public bidding process of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) either for goods, infrastructure projects and consulting services.
As the chief executive of Cebu City, Rama said he is bound to promote the general welfare, and livestreaming the bidding process will “unnecessarily put at risk” the interest, safety and security of the bidders, particularly since “more often than not, their bids involve substantial or large amounts of money.”
Rama, however, assured Cebuanos that their desire for transparency and accountability would still be upheld, as the bidding process in the city have been complying with the rules of the Government Procurement Reform Act, including having representatives from the Commission on Audit and at least two observers from nongovernmental organizations during the BAC meetings.
The mayor said the observers also have access to bid documents, minutes of the meeting, abstract of bids and postqualification summary report, among others. INQ