BESIDES budget insertions for flood control projects, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the watch of Secretary Benjamin Diokno was also behind the contracting of consultants for the major projects of the government.
Based on the documents now in possession of the House Committee on Rules, in 2018 alone the DBM, particularly the Procurement Service unit, was responsible for bidding more than P37 billion in government contracts for consultants.
The biggest contract, worth P14.3 billion, is for Project Management Consultancy for the PNR South Long Haul Project of the North-South Railway Project. It was awarded on October 31, 2018.
Almost P11.7 billion was also bid for General Consultancy for Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1 (Valenzuela to Paranaque). It was awarded on October 18, 2018.
Another General Consultancy worth P11.7 billion was bid for the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1 awarded on October 31, 2018.
According to Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr., the P37-billion contracts for consultants were part of the P168-billion fund that the Department of Transportation (DoTR) obligated to the DBM-Procurement Service for bidding purposes.
During the last committee hearing, the Executive Director of DBM-Procurement Service, Bingle Gutierrez admitted that her office was responsible for bidding of more than P198 billion worth of government contracts, including big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Andaya said of the P198 billion, P168 billion are projects under the DoTR that include airports, trains and others.
“Para talagang megamall na ng kontrata ang DBM. Hindi lang mga contractors at suppliers ang pumipila sa DBM para makakuha ng kontrata. Pati pala mga consultants, pumipila na rin doon,” Andaya said.
Andaya said this is quite alarming, as a copy of the 2017 CoA report on DBM-PS clearly spelled out the mandate of this office.
“The issuance of Administrative Order No. 17 dated 28 July 2011 reiterated to all government agencies that their procurement of common use supplies shall be done through PS and that the PhilGEPS shall be used in all their procurement activities, including publication of all their bid opportunities and posting of all their awards and contracts, in accordance with Republic Act No. 9184,” Andaya quoted from the report.