Department of Budget and Management a super-bidding body — Andaya

Benjamin Diokno

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM), on the watch of Secretary Benjamin Diokno, is responsible for the bidding of several projects worth a total of P198 billion.

This was disclosed at the continuation of the inquiry of the House Committee on Rules on the alleged budget insertions and flood control projects.

Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said this only shows that the DBM is turning into a super-bidding body for billions of pesos worth  of government projects.

Testifying before the hearing, Bingle Gutierrez, executive director of the DBM’s Procurement Service, admitted that her office was responsible for bidding in 2018 more than P198 billion worth of government contracts, including big-ticket infrastructure projects that form part of the Build, Build, Build program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

“The DBM has become some sort of a one-stop megamall of government projects for contractors. Now, it has morphed into a super body responsible for the bidding of multi-billion government contracts,” Andaya said.

Gutierrez told the panel that several Executive departments and government-owned and controlled corporations have allowed her office to conduct the bidding for the big-ticket infra projects and other government contracts since 2017.

These projects and contracts include airports, railways and mass transport systems as well as the purchase of military hardware including helicopters.

The DBM’s Procurement Service is mandated by law to procure commonly-used supplies for government such as envelopes, folders, ballpens, pencils, inks, computers and other office equipment that are cheaper to buy by the bulk.

Andaya slammed Diokno for allowing DBM to dip on bidding process, determines who gets government projects and who gets paid from the public funds when its mandate is  prepare National Expenditure Program, allocates and disburses public’s funds.

“Hindi pala totoo ang sinasabi ni Sec. Diokno na hindi nakikialam ang DBM sa bidding at awarding ng mga government contracts. Hindi lang pala sila nakikialam. Sila na pala mismo ang nagsasagawa ng bidding at nagrerekomenda kung sino ang makakakuha ng mga proyekto,” Andaya said.  
Andaya has reminded Diokno that Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law has no provisions for the DBM to conduct bidding for other department’s big-ticket projects.

“Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the concept of government bulk-buying common-use items in order to save money. Volume leads to discounts. But cornering big contracts has its pitfalls. One of which is the lack of DBM’s in-house expertise in, for example, choosing what high-tech military hardware to buy,” Andaya said.

“Mas magaling ba sa bidding ng mga airports at subway system ang mga taga-DBM-PS kaysa sa mga eksperto natin sa Department of Transportation? Mas mahusay ba silang bumusisi ng technical specification ng mga helicopters at iba pang military hardware kaysa sa Department of National Defense?” he asked.

“Sec. Diokno better explain this to the Senate and the House of Representatives,” Andaya added.

The Congress has given the DBM-Procurement Service a P7-billion budget in 2018 for the procurement of commonly-used supplies.