Republic Act 9184: Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA)

An Act Providing For the Modernization, Standardization and Regulation of the Procurement Activities of the Government and For Other Purposes RA 9184, better known as the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), was signed into law on July 22, 2002. GPRA was enacted primarily to eliminate all forms of corrupt practices in the government procurement system and likewise seek efficient utilization of the government’s resources.

An Act Providing For the Modernization, Standardization and Regulation of the Procurement Activities of the Government and For Other Purposes

RA 9184, better known as the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), was signed into law on July 22, 2002.  GPRA was enacted primarily to eliminate all forms of corrupt practices in the government procurement system and likewise seek efficient utilization of the government’s resources. The GPRA is governed by five (5) core principles, To promote: (1) transparency in the procurement process; (2) competitiveness by extending equal opportunities thereby allowing eligible private contracting parties to participate in public bidding; (3) streamlined procurement process that will uniformly apply to all government procurements; (4) system of accountability; and, (5) public monitoring of the procurement processes and implementation. 

Despite GPRA’s renowned commitment to improve the government’s procurement process, there are still alleged irregularities threatening its credibility. As such, several bills were filed in both Houses of the 16th Congress to address these specific issues.  Five of the eight bills filed in both chambers of Congress sought to amend the coverage of the GPRA which included the procurement of infrastructure projects, goods and services by all branches of government, and treaties or international or executive agreements signed into by the Philippine government.  

Similar provisions in SB 782 and HB 148 filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Rep. Francis Abaya respectively, aimed to clarify that the GPRA applies to all government procurement processes except treaties or international or executive agreements not yet ratified by the Senate. 

As controversies such as the National Broadband Network (NBN) – ZTE deal and the Cyber Education Projects (CEPs) that challenged the credibility of the GPRA, both Sen. Escudero (SB 433) and Sen. Estrada (SB 1069) filed bills to prevent similar anomalous transactions.   Both measures sought to clarify that procurement of goods, services, and infrastructure projects funded by foreign loans classified as Official Development Assistance (ODA) would also be covered by the rules and processes of the GPRA.  

Sen. Trillanes also filed SB 478 to prevent a similar incident such as the fertilizer fund scam that occurred in the past administration.  The measure aimed to include private institutions, nongovernment organizations, peoples' organizations and other private entities which are recipients of government funds in the GPRA.

In the same measure, SB 433, filed by Sen. Escudero, had additional amendments to strengthen transparency and accountability of public officials and responsible agencies.  SB 433 states that participants invited to the bidding procedures cannot be invited back for more than three times within the same year and participants must be duly authorized by the President or Chairperson of a good standing sector or organization. The measure’s final amendment aims to lessen the discretionary power of procuring agencies by authorizing the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to approve bid prices before submission.  Finally, Sen. Escudero included another section to strengthen transparency bylimiting procuring agencies’ ability to manipulate biddingsby posting all ratings of bidders and bid prices given by each member of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) on the GPPB website. 

On a different note, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada filed SB 1509 to exempt all Local Government Units (LGUs) from GPRA’s coverage. The measure claims that the LGU’s procurement of infrastructure projects, goods and consulting services will be best monitored if governed by Local Government Code of 1991, which provides the detailed processes of supply management at the local levels.

Sen. Trillanes, filed SB 1657 to address the defense and protection of the core security concerns of the country.  According to Sen. Trillanes, the country's current procurement process in the acquisition of defense equipment needs to be strengthened. The measure seeks to allow procurement for major defense equipment - aircraft, vessels, tanks, armored vehicles, high tech communication equipment, radar systems, sophisticated weapons systems and high-powered firearms not locally available.    The measure also exempts the procurement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of defense equipment from the requirements of public bidding.  It also states that this will only take effect upon prior consent and approval of the President, the Secretary of National Defense, and with the concurrence of both Defense Committee Chairmen of both Houses of Congress.

Lastly, Senator TG Guingona filed SB 76 as a product of the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Philippine National Police (PNP) Helicopter Deal. The measure seeks to expand the list of offenses that can be committed by public officers in procurement processes: (a) Recommending, approving, awarding a contract to a an illegal bidder;(b) Approving, accepting goods, products, services that are disapproved by the appropriate procurement committees; and, (c) Unlawful changing of specifications to favor a particular supplier.

In light of the concurrent issues on the malversation of funds and the current pork barrel scam, branches of government suffered the blame for the continuous misuse of taxpayer’s money.  Both chambers of Congress filed these measures to improve the procurement system of the government, lessen corrupt practices haunting bureaucracies, and regain their credibility as civil servants and guardians of the Filipino community.

 

HB 148

 HB 148

 

SB 433

SB 433

 

SB 1069

SB 1069

 

SB 478

 SB 478

 

RA 09184

 Ra 09184

 

SB 76

 SB 76

 

SB 782

SB 782

 

SB 1509

 SB 1509

 

SB 1657

SB 1657

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