Procurement, rightsizing bills tackled at 2nd Ledac meeting

Pia Ranada
Procurement, rightsizing bills tackled at 2nd Ledac meeting
Amendments to the procurement law and bills to rightsize government are among the 6 priority bills that President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his second SONA

MANILA, Philippines – Top government officials led by President Rodrigo Duterte discussed with Congress leaders the proposed bills seeking to modify the procurement process and streamline the government bureaucracy during the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) meeting on Tuesday, August 29.

 

The President, who convened the Ledac 7 months after the first meeting on January 30, had mentioned amendments to the procurement process and bills for the rightsizing of government among his 6 priority bills in his second State of the Nation Address.

The current procurement process, with its many layers of bureaucracy, is among Duterte’s major pet peeves as he believed there are too many procedures that are unnecessary and burdensome.

In a speech just before the Ledac meeting, Duterte told new government officials of the need to amend procurement laws.

“When procurement laws and rules tend to unduly delay or derail instead of hasten the implementation of government projects or programs, then the time has come to change or amend them to keep in step with the changing times,” he said.

He particularly wants to take out the requirement that government must always go for the lowest bid when bidding out projects to contractors, believing it sets the stage for corruption and forces substandard equipment and services on the public.

“At first blush, the lowest bid may appear cheap, but in the long term, it can be more expensive than anyone could think or could imagine,” said Duterte.

Housing department

During the meeting, the Ledac agreed to incorporate the bill seeking to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development into the proposed government rightsizing bill.

Proponents of a separate housing department envision the proposed department envisioned to be more powerful and effective than the current Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. 

While proposals to create the Department of Culture and the Philippine Spage Agency were also in the Ledac agenda, these two items were not discussed.

Vice President Leni Robredo, a Ledac member as provided under Republic Act 7640 that created the advisory body, was not at the second Ledac meeting though she was present at the first. Rappler later learned that Malacañang failed to invite her.

Those in attendance, according to Abella, are the following:

  • Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III
  • Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
  • House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas
  • House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez
  • House ways and means committee chair Dakila Cua
  • Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
  • Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
  • Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno
  • Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
  • Public Works Secretary Mark Villar
  • Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
  • Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr
  • Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo
  • Special Assistant to the President Bong Go
  • Presidential Legislative Liaison Office head Adelino Sitoy
  • Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino
  • HUDCC chief Eduardo del Rosario
  • Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan
  • George Barcelon, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representing the private sector
  • Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, representing local government
  • National Youth Commission chief Aiza Seguerra, representing the youth sector

The next Ledac meeting is scheduled on September 20. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.