President Rodrigo Duterte said his administration would ignore the rules of the Commission on Audit (COA) in the procurement of equipment and medical facilities for the military, saying the lowest bids for these contracts are not necessarily the most advantageous to the government.
In his impromptu speech to wounded soldiers at the V. Luna General Hospital in Quezon City recently, Duterte promised to provide new medical facilities and a new hospital building for the military by December this year.
“I don’t want that it would take two years for it to be finished. Let’s give them the hospital, the appropriate building, and not delay the procurement. As for the equipment, I don’t believe in accepting the lowest bid,” Mr. Duterte told the wounded soldiers.
“It will all be expedited. I don’t want it to be delayed just to accommodate some people. And I’m not the type of person who believes in whatever the COA says. Because, even if you accept the lowest bid, the winner will shortchange you with substandard equipment. Which is why I told the COA that I will not follow them,” he said.
For the planned new building at the V. Luna General Hospital, which he envisions to be a state-of-the-art medical facility for the military and their families, Mr. Duterte said he would no longer hold any bidding and will personally monitor the procurement.
“The money is already there. I would require this to be monitored closely, but I don’t want any bidding, because I will be there. I’ll be the one to do it,” he said.
President Duterte said he would discuss with the COA the proposal to revise procurement rules to put more premium on the quality of goods and services in considering which bidder should get the government contract.
He said the policy of blindly awarding government contracts to the lowest bidder is a source of corruption, as the substandard quality of what is offered by the lowest bidder requires such bidder to pay off government officials to look the other way when the equipment procured prematurely breaks down. Duterte said the same policy will be followed in the procurement of military supplies, ammunition and equipment, like military vehicles and firearms.