Filipino companies will have the first crack in bidding for at least P400 billion worth of supplies and equipment for projects that the national government will procure next year.
House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said that a “Buy Filipino” provision in the 2013 national budget gives preference to domestic groups in government tenders for goods and services.
Tañada said that a “fine print” in the P2 trillion spending bill reiterates “the long standing policy to observe the Flag Law, or Commonwealth Act 138, when it comes to government purchases.”
The law directs government agencies to give preference to “native companies and products when purchasing articles,” Tañada explained.
The three-term Quezon lawmaker, however, added that “the preference is not absolute and is subject to limitations.”
“For example, the bidder must still comply with the Government Procurement Reform Act , meaning pricing and quality must be met and never relaxed on account that the product sought to be purchased is of local origin“ he said.
“This means too that an inferior, substandard locally-made product cannot triumph over a foreign-made one. You also don’t buy a more expensive product simply because it is wrapped in Philippine flag, “he said.
Also exempted, Tañada added, “are purchases under foreign sales agreements, heavy equipment imports for infrastructure projects and other importations of agencies financed by foreign borrowings.”
For next year, Tañada computes that some P400 billion worth of MOOE (maintenance and other operating expenses) items, like office supplies, and capital outlays, including infrastructure, will be
bought by the government.
Topping the government’s shopping list is P223 billion worth of roads, bridges, classrooms and other public works.
It will also need P53.4 billion worth of “supplies and materials”, mostly office supplies, textbooks, and “fuel ,oil and lubricants.”
Repair and maintenance of government assets such as vehicles and building have also been provided with a P21 billion allocation under the 2013 national budget
Government agencies will also bid out contracts for janitorial, security, and other professional services estimated at P31.7 billion.
Tañada said the national budget’s “Buy Filipino” policy is expected to help local firms, especially small and medium enterprises.
But for a “domestic entity to claim preference”, it must first secure from the Department of Trade and Industry a “certification that it has met all the qualifications required under the Flag Law and the
Government Procurement Reform Act Law .”
The DTI must also certify that the goods forming part of its bid are substantially composed of articles materials or supplies grown, produced or manufactured in the Philippines , Tañada explained