By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

IF THE Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (PS-DBM) is not to be abolished, then Congress must come up with ways to stop agencies from using it as a “parking lot” of their unused funds, Senator Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos said on Thursday.

She reiterated that the PS-DBM has already outlived its use and could be counterproductive for the government to keep around.

“We already have small item bidding and sometimes it is cheaper to procure (items) locally because there won’t be shipping and installation,” Ms. Marcos, speaking partly in Filipino, told a media forum.

“If they (lawmakers) plan on keeping the PS-DBM, we really need to look at this issue and prevent it from being used to park funds,” she added.

The Senate is in the middle of considering amendments to the Government Procurement Reform Act to address delays in the delivery of goods and services.

Senate Bill No. 1123, filed by Ms. Marcos, seeks to abolish the PS-DBM since funds are often stalled at the procurement stage.

The Senate Finance Committee is also deliberating on Senate Bill No. 2466, written by Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, which aims to analyze current procurement modes and establish a single electronic procurement portal.

The PS-DBM, mainly tasked to operate a centralized procurement system for common office supplies and equipment for government agencies, was put in the spotlight in 2021 after state auditors flagged irregularities in the purchase of medical supplies in 2020 using emergency funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In August, the Ombudsman ordered that graft charges be filed against seven former and sitting officials of the PS-DBM and recommended their dismissal from government service over the anomalous purchase of P4.16 billion worth of coronavirus test kits from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. in 2020.