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Cebu News

PJ: No to lowest bid, yes to ‘best value’

Mae Fhel K. Gom-os - The Freeman
PJ: No to lowest bid, yes to âbest valueâ
Cebu Third District Rep. Pablo John Garcia has filed a bill that seeks for government to shift from "lowest bid" to "best value" in its procurement process.
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CEBU, Philippines — Instead of awarding government projects to lowest bidders, House Deputy Speaker and Cebu Third District Rep. Pablo John "PJ" Garcia has sought to amend the country's 17-year-old Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA) by awarding the projects to bidders who can provide the “best value.”

This as Garcia believes that lowest bidders give the lowest quality and performance, which leads to waste of government funds.

Garcia wants the Congress to consider amending the GPRA to depart from the lowest-bid model to "a more strategic approach that promotes fast and efficient procurement, prevents waste and fraud, and complies with global standards."

Seeking to amend the law, he introduced the House Bill No. 7739 or the Best Value Procurement (BVP) Bill with a concept of "best value" which looks not only at the price but also to the life span, benefits, and predicted risks in government procurement to maximize efficiency and value for money.

He noted that cheaper is not always better as this sometimes leads to lowest quality and performance.

"They say, 'You get what you pay for.' And in government purchases, we have seen lowest bidders give the lowest quality and performance, sometimes not finishing projects, leading to waste of government funds," said Garcia.

House Bill No. 7739 also aims to incorporate features to promote efficiency and transparency in government procurement including the adoption of global open data contracting standards; promotion of sustainable public procurement; support of inclusive public procurement; strengthening of procurement by electronic means; setting up a procurement academy; introducing an integrated procurement approach; optimizing processes already in GRPA; dynamic refinements to the alternative modes of procurement; innovative solutions such as black listing, bidder debriefing, and industry analyses, among others; and introduction of the "most advantageous bid" method.

"The use of BVP, along with the innovations contained in this bill - designed to make the procurement process more transparent, faster, and more efficient - will guarantee that all projects will be advantageous to the government in the long run," Garcia said.

He said the BVP is already being practiced in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Norway, and Netherlands.

In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not follow the rule on awarding contracts to the lowest bidder -- which is mandated by law -- citing that it is 'the source of corruption' in government procurement.

In 2018, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the president prefers the Swiss challenge system in carrying out big-ticket government projects wherein proposals from infrastructure investors are subject to the procedure where others are allowed to match or exceed the proposal and that the contract will be awarded to the bidder with the best offer. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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