Department Interior and Local Government blamed for stalled Bureau of Fire Protection facility upgrade
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II’s apparently overly cautious management style when it comes to spending public funds has caused another government agency to lose its chance to modernize facilities and equipment.

Government auditors have reported that the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) failed to spend more than P1.812 billion in available government funds in 2013.

In a report released yesterday by the Commission on Audit (COA), it said the DILG’s acts of meddling with the agency’s procurement processes resulted in the purchase of nothing during the year, thereby compromising the safety not only of the country’s firefighters but also of the public.

State auditors said such interference or intervention in the bidding procedures by a mother agency was in violation of Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law. This prevented the attached agency from modernizing itself despite available funding.

The meddling of the DILG resulted in the non-procurement of 167 new firetrucks, and put on hold the construction of 64 new fire stations and the purchase of other firefighting equipment worth P1,812,845,957.

“The policy of the DILG in the procurement process of the (BFP) is not in accordance with Section 11 of RA 9184 which resulted in the non-procurement of the much needed (equipment and facilities),” the COA report said.

State auditors noted that such interference or intervention deprived firefighters of “shield and armor to be used during fire suppressions and well-equipped and modernized fire stations.”

The COA report specifically questioned the DILG’s act of issuing Department Order No. 2012-85 dated Feb. 1, 2012 reconstituting the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

On Jan. 8, 2013, the DILG issued another memorandum titled “Strengthening of the Bids and Awards Committee and its Secretariat of the Department.”

By virtue of the second memorandum, the COA report said the authority of the BFP as procuring entity with respect to procurement of day to day requirements such as office supplies, janitorial services, security services, training seminars and the like was reduced to P5 million while specialized goods or equipment, regardless of amount of the approved budget for contract such as fire trucks and firefighting and security equipment and the like, shall be under the authority of the department’s BAC.

State auditors emphasized Section 4 of RA 9514 provides that the chief of the BFP, with the approval of the secretary of the DILG, is authorized to enter into long-term agreement, either through public biddings or negotiations in accordance with the provisions of the Government Procurement Act of 2003, for the acquisition of fire fighting equipment, training facilities and hiring of additional personnel.

“The BFP, although a line agency of the DILG, has its own identity separate and distinct from the Department. As such, the BFP as a procuring entity should be responsible in the creation of its own BAC and in the procurement process,” the audit team stressed.

 

BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION DEPARTMENT ORDER NO DILG FIRE GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT ACT INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS ON JAN PROCUREMENT PROCUREMENT LAW
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