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The Philippines Digitalising Government Procurement

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The Philippines is set to witness a transformative shift in its government procurement system with the introduction of House Bill No. 9648, also known as the proposed new Government Procurement Reform Act (GPRA).

Secretary Mina F Pangandaman of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is at the forefront of this initiative, emphasising the pivotal role of digitalisation and innovation in addressing existing gaps in the procurement landscape.

Secretary Mina believes that the infusion of digital processes and innovative solutions will lead to a more efficient and streamlined government purchasing system. The proposed GPRA is designed to uphold values such as transparency, competitiveness, efficiency, proportionality, accountability, public monitoring, procurement professionalisation, and sustainability in government procurement.

At the heart of this transformation is the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS), which will act as the single electronic portal for all government procurement activities. The PhilGEPS platform introduces several innovative features and solutions aimed at revolutionising the procurement process:

  1. Electronic Bulletin Board: A centralised platform for posting procurement opportunities, notices, awards, and reasons for awarding, enhancing transparency in the entire procurement lifecycle.
  2. Registry of Manufacturers, Suppliers, Distributors, Contractors, and Consultants: A centralised electronic database facilitating easier access and verification of qualified suppliers.
  3. Electronic Catalogue: An extensive catalogue of common-use goods, supplies, materials, and equipment, promoting standardised procurement practices.
  4. Virtual Store: An exclusive online space accessible only to registered procuring entities, ensuring a secure and controlled environment for transactions.
  5. Electronic Marketplace: An online platform allowing procuring entities to search, view, compare, select, and procure both common-use and non-common-use supplies and equipment from qualified suppliers.
  6. Electronic Reverse Auction: An online auction mechanism where suppliers compete by outbidding each other, ensuring the best value for goods and services.
  7. Electronic Small Value Procurement: A facility enabling procuring entities to engage in shopping or small value procurement efficiently.
  8. Electronic or Digital Payment: An inclusive digital payment system, including stored money credits in an electronic wallet and direct electronic payment, simplifying financial transactions.
  9. Electronic Bidding: A comprehensive facility covering the entire procurement process, from planning to payment, ensuring a seamless and digital procurement journey.

All government procuring entities are mandated to register with PhilGEPS for the purchase of common-use supplies and equipment, and they are encouraged to utilise the additional innovative features by guidelines issued by the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB).

The proposed GPRA also emphasises mandatory access to an online network for the transmission and use of electronic data messages or documents, fostering an open, speedy, and efficient exchange of information.

Further, procuring entities with existing electronic procurement systems are urged to integrate seamlessly with PhilGEPS, promoting efficient sharing of procurement information. This cohesive approach ensures that the benefits of digitalisation and innovation permeate throughout the entire government procurement ecosystem.

The Philippines’ pioneering efforts in digitalising government procurement promise transformative benefits. Embracing technology enhances efficiency, reduces costs, and fosters transparency. The proposed PhilGEPS introduces centralised platforms, facilitating real-time monitoring, standardised practices, and increased competition through e-marketplaces and reverse auctions.

This digital shift not only streamlines processes but also promotes inclusivity, allowing broader supplier participation and ensuring fair treatment. Besides, the environmental impact is minimised with decreased reliance on paper. This strategic move positions the Philippines at the forefront of innovative and responsible governance, ushering in a new era of effective, transparent, and sustainable public procurement.

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