Pasig City (Philippines), 18 February 2022— The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) forged a partnership with the Government Procurement Policy Board – Technical Support Office (GPPB-TSO) to enhance public procurement transparency.
A formal signing ceremony was attended by representatives of the UNODC headed by Senior Policy Advisor Oliver-Georges Lermet, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Rolando Toledo, GPPB-TSO Executive Director Rowena Candice M. Ruiz, and Bureau of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Director Kelia Cummins.
Said partnership between UNODC and GPPB-TSO supports the implementation of the Automation of Procurement Forms Project, which helps procuring entities to conduct a more efficient and effective procurement planning and monitoring.
UNODC National Programme Officer on Anti-Corruption Atty. Kirbee Tibayan laid down the details of the automation project, which addresses public demand for transparency in how government agencies and local government units are utilizing the approved budget of the government.
The web application, once rolled out, will not only publish the procurement reports and analytics in real-time and open data format but will also generate a visual representation of the data summary, allowing various stakeholders such as procuring entities, law enforcement agencies, and civil society to use digital tools and data analysis to better prevent, detect, and mitigate corruption risks in public procurement.
UNODC Senior Policy Advisor Lermet underlined that corruption remains to be a significant obstacle to development in several countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific including the Philippines.
Relating this to the onslaught of the pandemic, Lermet emphasized, “We live in demanding times. Now more than ever, especially in relation to our efforts to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, taxpayers should know their money is being well spent as governments set off along the long and rocky road to economic recovery.”
DBM Officer-in-Charge Usec. Tina Rose Maria L. Canda, participating in the ceremony via online, reiterated that public procurement plays a vital role in the development of the country. “The revised and automated procurement forms as promised through this collaboration will not only grant easier preparation for our valued procurement entities but will enable real-time, which will assist GPPB-TSO and its stakeholders in identifying patterns and trends in our procurement undertaking.”
Usec. Toledo echoed the cruciality of simplifying procurement processes in the bureaucracy as it aids in public financial management. “This is a big step towards a greater goal which is the economic development of the Philippines,” Toledo said.
GPPB-TSO Executive Director Rowena Candice Ruiz committed to continually leverage digital transformation in accelerating efforts towards the full automation in the preparation, submission, and evaluation of procurement forms.
This initiative is supported by the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) under the COVID-19 Anti-Corruption Response and Recovery Project. Once fully implemented, it is expected to contribute to a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis by streamlining public procurement processes to help prevent and mitigate corruption risks in future national emergencies.