The series of legislative hearings conducted by both the upper and lower chambers of the Philippine Congress to amend the country’s existing procurement law surfaced the participation of brilliant, hardworking, and indefatigable lawmakers. For instance, Sen. Sonny Angara and Rep. Edward Vera-Perez Maceda — who sponsored the proposed New Government Procurement Act (NGPA) in the Senate and the House of Representatives (HoR), respectively — had to consistently take part in various technical working group meetings and sectoral gatherings to ensure the passage of the Bills, certified as urgent by no less than President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.

In these proceedings, made more accessible to viewers and other stakeholders through media coverages and livestream platforms, the spotlight is reasonably on these exemplary, honorable, and respectable solons. But behind them are their teams of public servants working silently, diligently, and with as much dedication to back up these great legislative leaders.

You must have seen them in the background, paying close attention as the sessions proceed. And while the camera lenses and viewfinder do not necessarily capture their presence at all times, their participation from the sidelines is instrumental and noteworthy.

 Along with PS-DBM Executive Director (ED) Atty. Dennis S. Santiago are other members of the agency’s workforce who have made significant contributions in the development of the NGPA — from conceptual formulations to the actual proposed amendments.

Introducing the PS-DBM Team, composed of ED Santiago, Atty. Genmaries S. Entredicho-Caong, Atty. Philip Josef T. Vera Cruz, Atty. Ramon Antonio L. Matibag, Atty. Lyodychie Q. Camarao, Atty. Charlotte Vina S. Casinillo, and Atty. Kathleen A. Tanin̈as.  

 It comes as no surprise as to why they have been entrusted with the responsibility of forming part of the PS-DBM Team to support the amendment of the procurement law and to collaborate with representatives from the DBM, the Government Procurement Policy Board - Technical Support Office, and other key agencies from the public and private sectors. Atty. Entredicho-Caong is the Procurement Group Director who brings with her more than 20 years of experience in government procurement, public private partnership, and consultancy work with multilateral development banks. Operations Group Director Atty. Vera Cruz, on the other hand, has more than 10 years of experience as a procurement practitioner and member of the procurement selection committee in different agencies of government.

Atty. Matibag, for his part, shares his more than eight years of experience from the judiciary as Court Attorney, rule, policy, and decision drafting from both the Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Court of Appeals. Atty. Camarao provides technical and legal support banking on her previous experience and involvement in the Procurement Division of a big government department with multi-billion pesos in portfolio. Atty. Casinillo and Atty. Tanin̈as, meanwhile, are the bright and technical minds that provide research and empirical support to the procurement propositions, concepts, measures, and strategies formulated by the PS-DBM Team.  

In one of the meetings during the preliminary stages of this endeavor, the PS-DBM Team presented the proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act, which cover several principles and areas of improvement, including innovative procurement methods and requirements, efficiency in the procurement process, procurement planning and budgeting, digitalization and innovation, and sustainable and green procurement, among others.  

 Since then, time flew so fast. On May 22, 2024, the Senate and the HoR have ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee version of the proposed NGPA. Having reconciled the disagreeing provisions from both houses, the bill is now for transmittal to President Marcos — moving it closer to finally becoming a law.

When enacted, NGPA shall amend the decades-old procurement law, with PS-DBM supporting concepts such as the Most Economically Advantageous and Responsive Bid (MEARB) and the Most Advantageous Responsive Bid (MARB) — new evaluation paradigm to enable greater competition, economy, and efficiency in government procurement.  

NGPA is likewise poised to bolster the government’s thrust towards digital transformation, with provisions that shall further the modernization of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) by launching eMarketplace, eSmall Value Procurement, and eReverse Auction, among other new features.  

NGPA will also adopt sustainable procurement to ensure that public acquisition in the Philippines has the most advantageous impact in social, economic, and environmental aspects.  

 With strong support and guidance from DBM Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, the PS-DBM Team takes pride and honor in having contributed significantly in the passage of the new procurement legal framework.

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