DBM procurement service focusing on common-use items after laptop episode

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THE Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it has suspended the procurement of non-common use supplies and equipment (NCSE) until further notice, and is currently focusing on common-use supplies and equipment (CSE).

The service had come under scrutiny after P2.4 billion worth of laptops acquired for the Department of Education (DepEd) were allegedly overpriced. The laptops were procured to enable teachers to conduct distance learning at the height of the pandemic.

The DepEd laptops, classified as NCSEs, were procured in 2021 and were intended for distribution to 68,500 teachers. The Procurement Service has sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the purchase.

“I issued a directive suspending the procurement of non-common use supplies and equipment, effective immediately,” Procurement Service Executive Director Dennis S. Santiago said in a statement issued on Tuesday by the DBM.

“During the suspension, the Procurement Service shall not accept new requests for NCSE procurement until further notice. This will allow us to focus on the fulfillment of our primary mandate, which is to procure CSEs.”

According to the Commission on Audit, NCSEs are goods, materials, and equipment that are required by a procuring entity for a specific project. These are neither common-use supplies nor inventory items.

On the other hand, “CSEs include the procurement of items essential to the day-to-day operations of government agencies such as, but not limited to, ballpens, papers, stapler, paper clips, folders, and the like,” the DBM said.

Mr. Santiago said the Procurement Service will fulfill its outstanding obligations in obtaining NCSEs processed before the suspension.

Tatapusin na lamang po ’yung procurement ng mga non-CSE na ongoing o nasa pipeline na hanggang sa sila’y makumpleto. Pero hanggang doon na lang po iyon. Pagkatapos noon, wala na. Lahat ng procurement, CSE na lang (We will complete the non-CSE transactions in the pipeline, but that will be all. After that, all transactions will be CSE only),” Mr. Santiago said.

The Procurement Service is the central procurement office for CSE items on behalf of the entire government. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles