COA questions AFP's P24-billion procurement
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 11, 2015 - 7:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday questioned the various and weapons equipment upgrade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), claiming the military did not observe proper procurement protocol.

The military acquired weapons and equipment worth P24.9 billion under the AFP Modernization Program.

The COA claimed that the military violated provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act as it did not undergo public bidding.

"The award of contract to Canadian Commercial Corporation for the supply and delivery of eight units of Bell 412EP Helicopters through Negotiated Procurement... is not considered exempted from the application and coverage of RA 9184 and its IRR, thus negotiated procurement may not be justified," the COA said.

The commission questioned the procurement of the following:

  • 8 Bell 412EP helicopters (P4.67 billion)
  • 12 FA-50 jets (P18.97 billion)
  • 14 M113A2 supporting vehicles (P405 million)
  • 4 M113A2 infantry fighting vehicles (P335 million)
  • 14 M113N3 armored recovery vehicles (P142 million)
  • 4 armored recovery vehicles
  • C41/GIS computer system (P188.877 million)
  • 340 portable radio transceiver (P52.4 million)
  • technical forensic upgrade system (P19.97 million)

The Department of Defense (DND), however, insisted that the military observed proper procurement protocol in its acquisition of weapons and equipment.

"To begin with, we would like to point out that public bidding is not the only mode of procurement provided for in law. RA 9184 allows for alternative modes of procurement in specific situations," DND public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said.

Andolong clarified that the procurement of eight helicopters from Canada was conducted through a government-to-government transaction. The transaction was made through an executive agreement with Canada.

The Bell 412s were chosen for ease of integration of pilots and technicians and the new for a reliable helicopter for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Andolong said.

Meanwhile, the purchase of 12 FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea was made through the negotiated mode of procurement as stated in RA 9184.

"Following the Defense System of Management, it was determined by Defense Acquisitions Systems senior leaders, composed of DND officials and major service commanders, that the FA-50 manufactured by Korea Aerospace Industries was most suited for the Philippines' F/SA/LIFT requirement," Andolong said.

Andolong added that the Government Procurement Policy Board approved the project and mode of procurement.

"The acquisition of M-113 vehicles from Israel is also pursuant to Section 4.2 of the Revised IRR of RA 9184. In addition, we would like to state that contrary to the report, the DND dealt with the Israeli SIBAT-Ministry of Defense, and not with Elbit Systems Land. SIBAT-MOD is the authorized government agency of Israel for the sale of military and defense material," Andolong said.

The DND official further explained that the C4I/GIS, portable radio and technical forensic upgrade were acquired for the use of military intelligence.

The computer systems were procured through direct contracting while the portable radio and technical forensic upgrade acquisition projects were made via negotiations, Andolong said.

The projects were classified as "emergency" in nature as they are "solely intended for intelligence use and application."

"Therefore, it is vital to be kept as confidential and the same is supported by certification from the head of procuring entity that the procurement is emergency in nature," he added.

Andolong stressed that the procurement of the projects has been thoroughly discussed following the Defense System of Management.

The DND invited third party observers, the media, the Coalition Against Corruption, Samahang Magdalo and the COA to observe every stage of its procurement process.

"We reiterate to all our invited observers to attend and observe our bidding process, and be our partners in transparency and accountability in our bidding processes," Andolong concluded.

ANDOLONG ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARSENIO ANDOLONG ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION COALITION AGAINST CORRUPTION DEFENSE ACQUISITIONS SYSTEMS DEFENSE SYSTEM OF MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PROCUREMENT QUOT
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