THE House of Representatives approved on second reading proposed amendments to the procurement law, with the measure calling for a single portal for electronic procurement.

Legislators on Wednesday approved via voice vote House Bill No. 9648, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

The proposed New Government Procurement Act seeks to “institute (a) streamlined and transparent procurement process… the use of emerging technologies and innovative solutions and open contracting practices,” according to a copy of the bill.

The measure aims to adopt a single electronic portal known as the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) for all procurement activities from planning to implementation.

It will establish an electronic payment system through the Budget department and the central bank for procuring entities.

The measure also proposes to ensure equal access to bid information on PhilGEPS except in cases involving national security.

The bill also seeks to strengthen the planning stage of procurement by making fit-for-purpose determinations, requiring detailed engineering submissions, providing for multi-year contracting, and including life-cycle cost analyses.

The measure also gives the bids and awards committee (BAC) or head of the procuring entity the option to determine the lowest calculated bid or the most economically advantageous bid for goods as well as infrastructure auctions.

The bill gives preference to bids that offer locally manufactured and environment-friendly goods, articles, and materials.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. last month ordered a buy-local policy for construction materials used in the infrastructure program.

The measure also defines the powers and functions of the BAC, increasing its honoraria to 30% of the basic monthly salary from 25%.

Changes to the law are expected to improve agencies’ absorptive and budget utilization, House revision of laws committee chairman and Manila Rep. Edward Michael Vera Perez Maceda said during committee proceedings on Nov. 8. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz