AFP chief wants separate procurement system for military

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2020 10:20 PM

Soldiers unload firearms Manila bought from Washington at Camp Aguinaldo, July 17, 2019. Handout/file

MANILA - Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Gilbert Gapay on Wednesday urged lawmakers to create a new separate defense procurement act to solve the slow roll-out of the military's modernization program.

Unlike other agencies, the military needs to buy "secret weapons" that cannot simply be published on the government's procurement website, Gapay told the Commission on Appointments.

"We want a separate defense procurement act so it would be faster than [RA] 9184" or the Government Procurement Reform Act," he said, when asked how he plans to solve the years-long delay in the implementation of the AFP's modernization program.

"These are secrets of the trade... If we publish these on PhilGEPS (Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System), burn down na agad secret weapons natin, our defense capability," he said.

Complaints from losing bidders also slow down the AFP's procurement process, the military's top general said.

"'Yung procurement namin parang election din 'yan: Walang gustong umamin na natalo sila," he said.

(Our procurement is similar to the elections because nobody wants to admit defeat.)

"Then it will be a legal battle na so that project will be put on hold at pag nag-failure of bid, reset, back to square one," he said.

The amount of projects that were not implemented has reached P5.72 billion, while suspended procurements are pegged at P3.9 billion, he said.

The AFP needs a new procurement system "so in the process we would not lose so much money and resources due to failure of biddings and other problems in the procurement pipeline," he said.