COA: DILG at fault for P3.8-B BFP procurement delay
MANILA, Philippines – Because the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sat on a bidding process for two-and-a-half years, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has not been able to buy firefighting equipment worth P3.8 billion.
The Commission on Audit said the national government provided the BFP with P3,861,102,675 for its modernization plan broken down as follows:
- P2.59 billion was earmarked by the national government for 244 units of firetrucks with one thousand-gallon capacity and 225 units with five hundred-gallon capacity
- P1.01 billion for the construction of 516 fire stations
- P194.48 million for new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and other protective gear
- P65.87 million for additional vehicles and firefighting equipment
The DILG however took over the bidding process from the BFP, following allegations of irregularities in the BFP’s attempts to bid out contracts in August 2011.
The COA pinned blame on the DILG for the procurement delays. In a report released Tuesday, September 29, it said the construction of new fire stations and acquisition of new fire trucks and firefighting equipment should have started in January 2012.
Interference by the DILG was actually a violation of of Section 11 of RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, which says that it should be the procuring entity that should constitute its own Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that should in turn handle procurement.
The BFP, according to the COA report, “made several follow-ups to the DILG on the status of the procurement of fire trucks, SCBA and personal protective equipment (PPE)…[along with] the construction/renovation of 516 fire stations.” All to no avail.
Procurement deals did not move until July 22, 2014, when the DILG-BAC returned the fire truck deal to the BFP, saying it has the “technical expertise in the subject procurement.” But as of yearend 2014, the BFP still had not seen a single fire truck.
Because of the missed opportunities for procurement, the BFP was unable to purchase 9,000 pairs of fire boots, 6,741 helmets, 7,628 pairs of protective mittens, fire hoses, nozzles, office computers, and spare parts for fire trucks in need of repair.
Of 861 BFP firefighters in 2014, there were only 188 SCBAs and 784 fire-protected boots.
Firefighters who lack basic protective gear have had to borrow supposedly personal equipment such as boots and gloves. – Rappler.com