2022 Philippine Elections

PPCRV urges gov’t to revisit procurement law after 2022 polls

Dwight de Leon
PPCRV urges gov’t to revisit procurement law after 2022 polls

David Castuciano/Rappler

'We can lobby for a change in the procurement law. It is probably because of that law that only a few bidders can participate,' the poll watchdog says

Election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on Tuesday, October 19, urged Philippine authorities to take another look at the country’s procurement law after the 2022 polls, to allow more bidders to participate in election-related government contracts.

“We can lobby for a change in the procurement law. It is probably because of that law that only a few bidders can participate,” PPCRV chairperson Myla Villanueva said in a press briefing organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas on Tuesday.

Specifically, Villanueva was referring to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Act, which says that a bidder for a certain project must have completed in the past a similar contract with a value of at least 50% of the approved contract budget.

Many Comelec contracts, specifically for the 2022 polls, are worth hundreds of millions of pesos, making it difficult for companies to join the bidding process.

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“It is the law. It’s not within our capacity to change the law, but we would like to question it more in the future,” Villanueva said.

“Technology moves very quickly. There are other technologies that we might be able to look at. But what happens is we lack time. We only speak up about issues when elections are approaching,” she added.

PPCRV information technology director William Yu also said they don’t have specific recommendations, but they want conversations to start.

“That provision is placed specifically so that we have a way of knowing the [company’s] track record. At the same time, it is also a barrier to people who don’t have that particular track record. The solution is hard,” he said.

In the same press briefing, the PPCRV, which was celebrating its 30th anniversary, also debunked myths related to the conduct of past automated elections, such as the seven-hour glitch, early transmissions, and queueing servers.

Reports of election irregularities hounded the 2019 polls, but a random manual audit showed the results were 99.99% accurate.

– Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.