To fast-track procurement of war materiel for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program, Senator Bong Revilla has filed a bill seeking to amend Republic Act 9184 or the “Government Procurement Act of 2003.”
Revilla, in filing Senate Bill 1830, said a specialized procurement process for defense assets is needed to pursue and sustain programs for the modernization of the AFP and to enhance the capability of military, police, and other law enforcement units to address the internal security threats.
“Prior to this, the AFP leadership had already asked Congress to introduce amendments to the stringent requirements of the Government Procurement Reform Act to address the unique needs and demands of purchasing defense equipment and services, such as the need for confidentiality and reasonable extension on time frames with respect to supplies sourced overseas,” he said.
During the recent Commission on Appointments hearing on the promotions of senior military officials, Revilla questioned AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay on the 2019 Commission on Audit report citing the inefficiencies in the implementation of the AFP modernization program, specifically on projects that should have been completed in 2018 and 2019.
Gapay told the senator the AFP procurement process is also governed by Republic Act 9184 and the failure of bidding had caused delay in the implementation of the AFP modernization program. Gapay then proposed that Congress legislate a separate defense procurement act to expedite the bidding process.
Acting on Gapay’s appeal, Revilla filed SB 1830 “to provide the necessary authority, opportunity and flexibility for the Department of National Defense and the AFP leadership to fast track its implementation of the long-delayed modernization program. While this measure provides an expeditious and specialized procurement for the defense sector, it is still anchored on the basic principles of quality and reliability of purchases, and accountability and integrity.”
Under the Revilla bill, the Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) may prescribe rules and standards to govern the procurement of defense articles, services, and infrastructures, and to enhance the national defense program of the government.