SENATOR Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, on Wednesday said the Budget department will be providing a detailed report on past and potential savings from bulk purchases through its Procurement Service as another legislator questioned the need for the agency.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III questioned the relevance of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) after the agency was involved in several of the upper chamber’s investigations on the purchase of allegedly overpriced laptops and medical supplies amid a pandemic.
“Is PS-DBM still relevant?” Mr. Pimentel said during the plenary session on Wednesday.
“Today, all agencies of the government have a bid and awards committee, meaning they already have the ability (to bid on their own), whether or not common-use,” he said.
Mr. Angara said the budget secretary has justified that PS-DBM can still deliver savings to the government.
“So, I am asking her to quantify the savings… that may have been realized or they foresee will be realized,” he said.
At the same time, Mr. Angara said the budget department agreed with the minority leader that “reforms are necessary and they highlighted here the focused procurement coverage for common-use supplies and equipment because that is the primary mandate of the PS-DBM.”
He also said there is a need to refine the definition of common-use such that it would apply “across different agencies at the very least.”
The PS-DBM recently came under scrutiny after P2.4 billion worth of laptops acquired for the Department of Education was flagged by state auditors for being overpriced.
Prior to that, PS-DBM was investigated for awarding P8.68 billion in medical supply contracts to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. despite being a new company and undercapitalized. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan