Procurement rules made easier in fight vs. COVID-19 pandemic

The Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has simplified the government’s procurement process by allowing end-user departments or units to directly negotiate with a qualified supplier or contractor with regards to civil works, goods or lease contracts related to the six-month state of calamity declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In GPPB Resolution No. 03-2020 approved by the inter-agency body last March 9, 2020, all procuring entities from national agencies to local government units have been provided a guide in the conduct of these procurement projects through Negotiated Procurement (Emergency Cases).

Included in the projects covered by this mode are goods, civil work projects as well as lease of real property or venues such as those used as quarantine centers, evacuation sites, medical relief, and aid distribution locations, warehousing facilities, or similar temporary disaster or emergency response facility.

The new policy allows either the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) or the End-User unit or any other appropriate bureau, committee, support or procuring unit to recommend to the Head of the Procuring Entity (HoPE) the revision of the Annual Procurement Plan (APP) subject to the availability of funds.

The proposed APP revision may only be approved by the HoPE upon confirmation of the existence and veracity of the grounds for resorting to Negotiated Procurement (Emergency Cases) under Section 53.2 of the 2016 Revised IRR of Republic Act 9184.

The approval of the revised APP is based on the following requirements: (1) The HoPE must relate the projects to be procured to the emergency situation it is intending to address, (e.g. provision of food packs, lease of venue or real property for use as quarantine facilities, purchase of COVID-19 testing kits, among others); and, (2) The HoPE shall validate from the appropriate office that there are funds in the budget to cover the Procurement Project.

The HoPE is also authorized to delegate to either the BAC or the End-User unit the authority to directly negotiate with a legally, technically, and financially capable supplier, contractor, or consultant.

Likewise, the HoPE is allowed to delegate the awarding of contracts to any official of the procuring entity, except to the BAC chairperson or members or to any other official where there exists a conflict of interest.

The Board also approved the list of items submitted by DOH for inclusion in the list of Common-Use Supplies and Equipment (CSE).

These items are alcohol, sanitizers, tissue, thermometers, hand soap, detergent, sodium hydrochloride, cleaning materials, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for utility staff, Povidone Iodine, gloves, masks, testing kits, and common medicines consisting of Paracetamol tablet and suspension, Mefenamic acid, vitamins tablet and suspension, Hyoscine tablet and suspension, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), and Cetirizine tablet and suspension.

On the other hand, anticipating that there may be some LGUs that have not issued Business or Mayor’s Permit due to the quarantine and the possible difficulty of suppliers to have their oaths administered by notaries public, the GPPB also allowed Procuring Entities to accept recently expired Mayor’s or Business Permit and an Official Receipt as proof of application and payment for the renewal of the permit as well as an unnotarized Omnibus Sworn Statement (OSS) during Negotiated Procurement (Emergency Cases).

The supplier, however, will submit the new Mayor’s Permit and notarized OSS after the award of contract.

“The OSS, even if not notarized, is valid and binding between the PE and the supplier… and cannot be repudiated by any of them as against the PE,” the GPPB said, noting that the purpose of notarization is to make the document public, thus valid and binding to the whole world without the need of additional evidence.

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