STATE agencies could be “adding to cart” in the near future as the national government plans to create its own Lazada or Shopee online marketplace as an option to make state procurement easier and more efficient.
This was one of the measures disclosed by budget and management officials regarding the proposed amendments to the country’s Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA).
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the creation of a Lazada or Shopee-like online marketplace for government procurement is supported no less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The DBM, led by Pangandaman, presented to Marcos the proposed reforms to the GPRA on Tuesday.
Procurement Service-DBM (PS-DBM) Executive Director Dennis Santiago explained that the online marketplace would work just like any other online shopping platforms, with government agencies being able to browse through and purchase items of their need.
Santiago explained that the PS-DBM will craft and issue the mechanisms and guidelines on how the online marketplace for government procurement would work. Part of the guidelines would be the eligibility of items and suppliers to sell in the platform to ensure that the items are of quality and economical in value, he added.
“Not all products will be available in the marketplace. We will start with the basics in our platform: we will ensure that the products are of quality, necessary and available,” he said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
“We will pilot-test this with motor vehicles. There will be motor vehicles with different brands in the marketplace,” he added.
Pangandaman explained that expanding the procurement options and making them more efficient and easier are part of the procurement reforms that the DBM is pushing for.
She pointed out that the DBM has divided the proposed amendments into six items with “innovative” procurement methods topping the list.
One of the changes being eyed by the DBM is improving the lowest calculated and most responsive bid methodology of procurement toward the most economically advantageous tender or MEAT.
“This is not new to us. This is already existing and being used in consulting services but we will apply it now to procurement of goods and infrastructure,” Santiago said.
“We are going to use percentages for technical aspects, for financial aspects and put them together to have the highest rated bid,” Santiago added.
Santiago said direct acquisition will also be part of the procurement pool of government agencies. Under this method, state agencies would directly purchase from market operators or suppliers for their small valued procurement needs.
“This will be for products with small values. Sometimes the value is just P10,000 but would still need to undergo a bidding process. This time they can directly go to the source provided that the source is legally, technically and financially compliant with the requirement of the procuring entity,” he explained.
Santiago said a threshold amount will be determined as part of the amendments on the amount of procurement that can be subjected to direct acquisition.
The other procurement modality that the budget officials want to be part of the amendments to the procurement law is unsolicited proposals.
They explained that they want to institutionalize unsolicited proposals as a procurement methodology across all items.
Under this scheme, which is already being applied to infrastructure projects of the country, a private stakeholder can submit a proposal to a procuring entity which shall then be subjected to a “challenge,” Santiago explained.
Furthermore, Santiago disclosed that they plan to ease the eligibility requirement for bidding purposes to make it more efficient to bidders by just requiring one document: the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System membership certificate.
“If the bidder submits that, then that will be their eligibility requirement,” he said.