THE Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) will clarify its rules on ineligible vendors after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) nearly procured medical supplies from a blacklisted entity.
“We are looking into refining again the blacklisting rules to make sure that no gray area will be left in so far as blacklisting is concerned,” GPPB-Technical Support Office Executive Director Rowena Candice M. Ruiz told Senators Monday.
DBM Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher A. Lao said a contract was awarded to Ferjan Health Link, Inc., which was a separate firm from the Ferjan Health Link Enterprise based on its initial review.
He said, however, that the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed that one of the stockholders of Ferjan Health Link, Inc. is the sole proprietor of the blacklisted company, Ferjan Health Link Enterprise.
“What happened in the case of the procurement service is that the blacklisted sole proprietor created a new corporation. That was not covered in the existing rules,” Ms. Ruiz said.
“What we did was coordinate with the Procurement Service (PS) to give them the options available and the option taken by the PS is to cancel or terminate the contracts.”
Mr. Lao said the contract, worth P727.5 million, was canceled Friday. He added that no advance payment was made to Ferjan.
The officials were at a Finance committee hearing on the proposed P1.908-billion budget of the DBM for 2021, which is 18.15% lower than its 2020 budget.
Mr. Lao said the GPPB will consider the inclusion of corporations in the blacklist should it have officials who are blacklisted sole proprietors.
“The GPPB is making some changes on the rules to include the application of sole proprietorship blacklisting, and carrying over the blacklisting to the corporation, which has ownership of at least one stockholder whose sole proprietor business is blacklisted,” Mr. Lao said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon had noted that contracts for the procurement of medical supplies, such as testing kits and personal protective equipment, were awarded to blacklisted companies.
“We suggest strongly that you amend because we will know that you should not be able to hide behind a corporate structure to skirt the disqualification as an individual, joint partnership or joint venture,” Mr. Drilon said. — Charmaine A. Tadalan