Pangandaman: Full digitalization at PS-DBM, key to an efficient, transparent procurement system

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman strongly supports the full digitalization of the public procurement process being undertaken by the Procurement Service (PS)-DBM to ensure transparency and generate savings.

According to Secretary Pangandaman, the PS-DBM is currently implementing an extensive reform agenda, with a focus on thorough procurement procedures.

“In line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to digitally transform government services and to support his 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda, the PS-DBM is dedicated to instituting an efficient procurement system incorporating global best practices, including the complete digitization of all government procedures,” Secretary Pangandaman emphasized.

PS-DBM Executive Director Dennis Santiago recently met with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representatives to discuss full procurement digitalization and analytics, two strategic priorities in the development of a comprehensive acquisition process to strengthen the PS-DBM’s integrity as the government’s central purchaser.

The meeting was held in preparation for UNDP’s Country Programme for 2024-2028.

The procurement process, widely seen as the most daunting bottleneck in budget utilization due to alleged rampant corruption, interpretational ambiguities, and a lackluster capability to carry out procurement tasks within government agencies, causes service delivery delays.

According to E.D. Santiago, the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) is undergoing modernization. He highlighted prominent improvements, such as an integrated e-bidding system, an electronic payment facility, and other associated improvements.

“An efficient procurement system underpins effective public expenditure management and fast-tracks the delivery of optimal services to the public in a timely and cost-efficient manner,” Santiago said, pointing out that the PS-DBM’s 12-point Agenda is highlighted by its focus on the procurement solely of Common-use Supplies and Equipment (CSEs) — including the study, review, rationalization, recasting specifications and requirements of pricing, and developing a reasonable and fair approved budget for the contract (ABC).

Part of its Agenda is implementing an organizational restructuring of PS-DBM, including human resource development and capacity building, and upscaling the logistics and supply chain management for transparency and accountability in the delivery of the procured items.

Likewise in the Agenda, which Sec. Pangandaman is advocating, is the enforcement of sustainable procurement through the Green Public Procurement (GPP) initiative.

“Green procurement is synonymous with responsible procurement. The integration of green solutions into the public procurement process brings us a step closer to our ultimate aim of promoting sustainable management and utilization of natural resources by the year 2030,” Pangandaman said.

To optimize budget utilization in government agencies, amending the two-decade-old Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) has also been proposed as a significant reform initiative.

“I think the procurement law is too stringent. Even the use of digitalization now and payment systems are not provided for in the law,” the DBM Secretary said.

“Rest assured that the PBBM Administration will continue programs to lessen the impact of inflation, help create more jobs with higher or sufficient salaries, extend financial aid to those who need it most, provide faster and responsive services, and end corruption through digital transformation. We are focused on achieving the administration’s Agenda for Prosperity that is inclusive and sustainable even for future generations, with no one left behind,” Pangandaman added.