COA scolds Balanga execs over procurement flaws
by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) gave the city government of Balanga, Bataan a good talking-to over its reported failure to promptly post procurement notices on the PhilGEPS website.
“Maximizing the use of PhilGEPS Website promotes transparency and efficiency in the government procurement,” the state auditing agency stated in its annual audit report.
Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) serves as the government’s primary procurement portal containing all forms of procurement documentation.
In 2018, Balanga’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) posted 238 Requests for Quotations (RFQ) totaling P23.67 million on the PhilGEPS website.
According to the audit records, award notices for 78 RFQs were reportedly posted on the website beyond the prescribed period up to six months from the date of the award.
Meanwhile, 156 RFQs totaling P16.58 million were already closed down, but have yet to be updated by the BAC Secretariat.
Under Section 54.3 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, notices of award, contract or purchase order, and notices to proceed must be posted on the website. Annex H requires that it be done within 10 days from their issuance.
In the report, the BAC explained the inconsistencies in their system were due to faulty internet connections and even the website itself, prone to crashing particularly on weekdays, aggravated by the sheer volume of procurement activities.
State auditors contested the BAC’s reasoning, arguing that if the city government could post its RFQs close to the awarding of contracts, the notices could be done on the same day, unsteady internet notwithstanding.
COA recommended that Balanga officials properly plan and schedule their timelines in order to ensure strict compliance with procurement law, to which the city government agreed.
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