GOING LOCAL, MOVING FORWARD
Tasha Arreza, Monitoring Group
Representatives hailing from the Local Government Units (LGUs) of the Visayas and Western Mindanao regions trooped to the Cebu Midtown Hotel for the GPRA IRR consultation held last 18 February 2009.
There were the usual calls for more to strengthen the capacity of the BAC, TWG and Secretariat in order to address the following: need for continuous and regular training, the struggle to reach quorum, increase in honoraria, and the simplification of rules to streamline procurement.
Among the more notable insights gathered from the event was the relaxation of restrictive eligibility requirements for bidders and the participation of more observers.
It was their view that by relaxing the documentary requirements, local suppliers who may be just as capable as their other counterparts would be given an equal chance to participate in biddings. This not only hastens the procurement process, but also results in a much favored increase in competition. This also addresses the problem of some of the LGUs in the province who claim that they can procure better quality goods more efficiently from local suppliers, than from the Procurement Service.
On the other hand, the strict requirements for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to be treated as Observers, particularly the SEC registration, hinder local CSOs from being designated as Observers -the civil society's crucial vanguards in safeguarding the procurement process. Thus, they suggested opening the pool of Observers to include those recognized by the concerned municipality.
Other pertinent issues raised include:
- Reference to brand names should be allowed. The procurement of generic items often leads to items of poor quality.
- More detailed conditions wherein LGUs can resort to alternative modes, especially in cases involving imminent danger or energy loss.
- Non-disclosure of ABC in the IAEB.