Monday, December 7, 2015

Gov’t saves P1.05-B in ads through e-procurement system

The Aquino administration, through the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), has saved at least P1.05 billion in newspaper advertisement expenses last year, according to Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad.

The budget chief lauded PhilGEPS for espousing “the principles of transparent and accountable operations to improve the performance of government as a whole by generating savings and making procurement data more accessible” during its 15th anniversary celebration last December 2.

PhilGEPS is a web portal that serves as the primary source of information on government procurement, which all government agencies are mandated to use pursuant to the Government Procurement Reform Act. The whole procurement process—from announcing and advertising all procurement opportunities, inviting qualified parties to bid, evaluation of bids, awarding of contracts, and monitoring of delivery and performance and payment—is recorded and posted online.

Billions of pesos worth of infrastructure, equipment, materials, supplies, and services pass through government procurement processes each year.

Before PhilGEPS, the government spent millions in advertising costs and invitations to bid to procure the goods and services it needs to operate the bureaucracy, carry out projects, and deliver services to the people. Bid opportunities costing P2 million and above for goods and consulting services and P5 million and above for civil works should be advertised twice on two newspapers of general circulation. Today, bid opportunities are required to be advertised only once in a newspaper of general circulation and posted continuously in the PhilGEPS for seven calendar days.

“Since the launching of the PhilGEPS, transparency in government procurement has been enhanced and procurement costs have gone down dramatically as a result of savings in advertising expenses,” said Abad.

“Good governance leads to good performance, which in turn leads to tangible benefits for Filipinos, which in turn means that we build greater trust between government and its citizens,” he added.

Abad also lauded the strict reporting guidelines established by the PhilGEPS. “One of our strategies to encourage good governance to take root has been to establish strong links between performance and incentives. By establishing strict reporting guidelines as PhilGEPS has done, we are sending a clear message to the bureaucracy that we value honesty and efficiency,” Abad said.

He further lauded the exemplary performance of the PhilGEPS in the government’s open data initiatives because it has consistently been publishing data on Procurement Notices and Awards of key government agencies, as well as details about each procurement activity, such as the approved budget, contract amount, procurement mode, and winning supplier.

“PhilGEPS has the most developed and comprehensive data sets in the Open Data portal. With this easily-accessible database, Philippine procurement is now more transparent and accountable,” he said. (DBM)

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