A BILL has been filed in the House of Representatives limiting all government procurement exercises to 27 days.

“Government agencies with major underspending concerns noted ‘public procurement issues’ as a recurring reason for the low disbursement (utilization),” Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr. said in House Bill No. 7944.

The measure is expected to help “address delays in the procurement process” and “further improve the timelines of the completion of projects of the entire government and their use and enjoyment by our people,” Mr. Gonzales said.

The measure aims to limit the duration of procurement to 27 days, starting from the day the invitation to prospective bidders is published and ending with the posting of the Notice of Award and Notice to Proceed with an approved contract.

The bill also proposes to eliminate the post-qualification component, a step in the current procurement process where the winning bidder’s bona fides are further evaluated.

Lone bids will be allowed provided that the bidder’s price can be met by the funds allotted for the contract. It also authorizes a waiver of the competitive bidding requirement for defense materials and related purchases.

 The bill proposes the creation of the Ang Bagong Pilipinas Procurement Bureau under the Budget department as well as a full-time Prequalification, Bids and Awards Committee in all agencies, local government units (LGUs), state universities and government-owned and -controlled corporations.

The measure applies to infrastructure, consultancy services, leases of privately-owned buildings or space longer than six months, and goods to be purchased entirely by LGU funds.

Foreign-funded procurement exercises, unless allowed in the loan agreement or the lending institution’s guidelines, are exempt from the 27-day limit.

If signed into law, the measure would repeal Republic Act No. 9814 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which “is no longer adequate to keep up with the rate of the projects being undertaken by the government,” Mr. Gonzales said.

He added that the current law “needs to be updated and streamlined to put an end to recurring delays in the acquisition of goods and services, and the awarding and implementation of infrastructure projects like roads, expressways and school buildings.”

Measures seeking to amend government procurement laws are currently being evaluated by a House technical working group.

Infrastructure spending was P196.7 billion in the first quarter, while infrastructure and capital outlays in 2022 rose to P1.02 trillion, according to the Department of Budget and Management. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz