IS GUV UP TO THE CHALLENGE? COA tells Capitol to probe bidding failures

By: Gerome Dalipe

STATE auditors have asked the Iloilo Provincial Government to investigate the delayed purchase of a machine for cross-matching of blood by a provincial hospital in 2017.

Likewise, the Commission on Audit (COA) wants the Provincial Government to impose accountability to erring members of the Capitol’s technical working group (TWG), which was tasked to review the technical specifications of the Immuno Hema Machine.

COA said that aside from their failure to perform their work, the TWG also endangered the health of hospital patients who required the Immuno Hema Machine.

In its annual report, the auditors blamed the Capitol’s TWG for failure to observe the procedures in the post-qualification of bids for the purchase of the machine last Sept. 19, 2017.

“The laxity of the TWG in the review of the technical specifications in the bidding documents and in the conduct of post-evaluation… resulted in the delayed provision of the needed equipment at the hospital,” read the COA report.

The Capitol’s bids and awards committee declared a failure of bidding for the failure of the supplier to comply with the technical requirements.

The BAC recalled the purchase order 135 days after it awarded the contract to Josmef Enterprises for failure to comply with the bid requests.

“Hence cross-matching of blood was still manually done, exposing hospital patients to more risks due to the incurrence of additional delays in the procurement of the machine,” read the COA report.

The Provincial Government invited suppliers to join the bidding for the purchase of Immuno Hema Machine of the Jesus M. Colmenares District Hospital in Balasan, Iloilo in 2017.

Section 34 of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Act) provides that post-qualification is required to verify, validate, and ascertain submitted by the lowest bidder.

The Provincial Government subjected Josmef Enterprises to a post-qualification process after it offered the lowest bid price of P525,000.

But the bidding was declared a failure after the BAC technical working group did not perform their functions.

The bidding was declared a failure because the specifications in the bidding documents appeared to be fitted for a certain brand.

Likewise, the auditors said the specifications were too detailed instead of setting it on minimum, and the size of the equipment was also specifically set.

The BAC then recommended to former Gov. Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. to recall the purchase order and to declare a failure of bidding.

Such occurred after the technical working group failed to perform their functions, the auditors said.

In the report, the auditors said the order to recall the purchase order by BAC is illegal since it did not have the authority to do so.

The auditors also asked the governor to direct the BAC coordinate with the Internal Audit Services to formulate policies, procedures, controls, and system of accountability in the procurement processes.

“If these practices will continue, other procurement processes will suffer as the delays accumulate that will materially affect the operations of the Province and consequently deprive its constituents of the benefit they may derive from,” read the COA report.