CALOOCAN CITY, Jan. 22 (PIA) –A portal designed to simplify and improve the efficiency of preparing bidding documents that are crucial to initiating procurement of goods and infrastructure projects was recently launched as a highlight of Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) three-day F.Y. 2021 Procurement Forum.

With the theme Procurement Innovations in Times of Pandemic: Leveraging Technology and Cultivating an Agile Procurement Regime, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary and GPPB Chairperson Wendel Avisado said that “new procurement reforms and digital platforms shall define and serve as the hallmark of a responsive and agile public procurement system.”

Avisado said the challenges magnified by the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020 had pushed the GPPB to adapt and innovate while keeping true to its mandate.

“The PBD Builder Portal developed through the collaborative efforts of the GPPB-Technical Support Office and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) prove that not only we can be resilient in the midst of adversity but ultimately, we, in the government, are proactive, innovative, and responsive for greater public services,” Avisado added.

In accordance with the 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA), government procuring entities are mandated to complete a set of PBDs that should clearly and accurately define procurement objectives, scope, specifications, and expected outputs or outcomes of a proposed contract.

However, procuring entities and bidders had reported difficulties in PBD preparation and confusion on clauses detailed in the 5th Edition of PBD, resulting in delays and failure of biddings. On September 21, 2020, the GPPB published the 6th Edition of the Philippine Bidding Documents to address these issues by simplifying and streamlining the PBDs for procurement of goods from 112 pages to 40, and for infrastructure projects from 113 pages down to only 35.

Following this reform, the GPPB-TSO with technical support from the USAID developed the PBD Builder, an online portal that will help improve the efficiency of preparing PBDs by minimizing errors and facilitating the effective conduct of public procurement of goods and infrastructure projects.

This will help ensure that procuring entities abide by the required standards, content, accuracy, and reliability of information (i.e. forms, texts, graphics, documents, links) in any uploaded content or software which may be activated through the Portal. 

“We are delighted that our support is helping modernize and streamline the Philippine government’s procurement systems and business processes. USAID remains committed to supporting the Philippine government in strengthening its systems and services to respond to the needs of its people, as well as in achieving a sustainable, more self-reliant, and inclusive economy,” the USAID/Philippines’ Office of Economic Development and Governance (OEDG) Director underscored.

For the past two years since the birth of the Procurement Forum, the GPPB-TSO had highlighted the importance of procurement planning as well as the linkage of government procurement and budgeting processes. Consistent with the GPPB-TSO’s vision for an open, transparent and accountable procurement system, Civil Society Organizations (CSO) representatives were invited to the forum and this year a full day session was provided for procurement practitioners of local government units.

This year’s Procurement Forum also tackles GPPB’s other ongoing initiatives and developments such as government procurement projects and activities with transformative procurement policies; the significance of procurement planning and risk management, and its relevance and implications to the upcoming 2022 National Elections; general procurement policy framework for FY 2021 through the digitization and streamlining of procurement processes as a continuing response to the COVID-19; and launching of other online public procurement platforms towards the digital transformation of the public procurement regime.

Each day was programmed to engage specific sets of government procuring entities with the participation of various CSOs, consistent with the advocacy of GPPB – TSO which started last year.

GPPB-TSO Executive Director Atty. Rowena Candice Ruiz boldly emphasized a vision that “2021will be the year that we rebound, regain the momentum to forge ahead, and reclaim our success in making public procurement responsive, innovative, agile and sustainable today and for the years to come.”

“We continuously challenge ourselves to explore and build new avenues where we can effectively and efficiently fulfill our mandate, deliver greater public services, as well as forge strong collaborations with our valued partners,” she added. (DBM/PIA-NCR)