The Government Procurement Reform Act: An Insight

Having worked with the Bids and Awards Committee at the Local Government Unit of Malaybalay City for 3 years and having been introduced to various procurement processes in the government, it really interests me to listen on discussions about R.A. 9184 also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act. This was one of the topics during the Seminar I attended at Cagayan De Oro City.

The act was implemented on January 10, 2003 in the pursuit of the government to promote good governance in government procurement. I strongly agree on its governing principles under Article I – Section 3 – The General Provisions, and these are the following: Transparency, Competitiveness, Streamlined Process, Simplicity and Adaptability to advances in technology, Accountability and Public Monitoring.

What interests me the most are the provisions under Article III – Section 8, especially on the G-EPS or the Government Electronic Procurement System, to promote transparency and efficiency, information and communications technology. This I believe is an efficient manner in addressing transparency, speedy procurement processing, and proper information and communication to concerned stakeholders. Therefore, the adaptation of this technology is consistent to the governing principles of the said Act.

However, beyond the ideal pursuit for good governance of the R.A. 9184, we cannot deny that there is still a huge problem especially in our national government in terms of corruption in procurement, even with the presence of this law. The more pressing question about this act is to what extent is this used by all government agencies or offices? For at least the last decade we have been hearing news and issues about collusion between contractors, multi-million bidding anomalies and many other issues that even school children have not been spared. We go back to the general idea that it is relatively easy to formulate a law or policy but the extent to which it is strictly implemented by the governments still remains a concern today.

Be that as it may, with the kind of leadership the Department of Education has today, both in the national and local levels, I believe this law shall become another tool to continuously uphold good governance and sustainable procurement activities in this Department – a matter of integrating ethics into the law and considering needs or priority assessments in the field of education to properly and efficiently utilize government funds.

Kervi Don A. Abendaño