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Uniform storage, inventory system sought for government agencies

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 17/10/2021 Paolo Romero
Uniform storage, inventory system sought for government agencies © The STAR / Geremy Pintolo, file Uniform storage, inventory system sought for government agencies

MANILA, Philippines — A uniform warehousing and inventory system for all government agencies and their procurements is being proposed in a bill filed before the Senate to prevent wastage, abuse and corruption.

Sen. Francis Tolentino filed Senate Bill 2431, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act, and establish a “warehousing and inventory system” for all government procuring units.

The bill seeks to mandate the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) to promulgate a standard operating procedure manual on proper warehousing and inventory of acquired and purchased items to be used by procuring government institutions.

Tolentino believes his measure will remedy such problem as expiring medicines and rotting relief goods in warehouses and even corruption in the procurement process.

The Department of Health (DOH)’s purchase of P42 billion worth of COVID-19 supplies through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) had drawn several red flags, including on inventory management, from the Commission on Audit (COA).

A closer investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon committee uncovered what senators called massive anomalies including the awarding of supply deals to Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which was being linked to President Duterte.

Earlier, Tolentino called on the Department of Education to enter into a partnership with the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST) and of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the creation of an inventory management system for DepEd assets.

He made the suggestion during the hearing on the DepEd’s proposed 2022 budget last week, citing the COA report flagging the department’s inventory system.

“My attention was called on several items referring to inventories. It is a tough matter to discuss and implement and perhaps concur with the suggestion of the Commission on Audit,” Tolentino said.

He said the DepEd has no clear data on the number of available textbooks yet it insists on printing more that would cost government billions of pesos.

He advised Education Secretary Leonor Briones to tap the help of the DOST and the DICT to create an automated and cloud-based warehousing and inventory system.

“This would not be based on papers, ledgers, charts, etc. This would involve the DOST, perhaps the DICT with you at the helm and making the initiative,” Tolentino said.

Briones, for her part, said she is amenable to the suggestion, saying this should help put an end to the decades-old inventory problem, not just of DepEd, but other government agencies as well.

Stressing the importance of digitalization in achieving economic and social resilience, Tolentino also filed a bill mandating the implementation of digitalized technologies in the local government level.

He filed SB 2430, which aims to amend Republic Act 7160, the Local Government Code of 1991, to mandate LGUs to implement a digitalized inventory and warehousing management system.

The senator explained that with the broader responsibilities devolved to local government units because of the implementation of the Mandanas ruling, it is necessary to ensure efficient delivery of basic services by the LGU, including accurate and transparent inventory and warehousing of procured goods.

At present, LGUs are mandated to establish an archival system of all government properties, goods and documents for proper inventory and safekeeping, but the process is still not automated or electronic, Tolentino said.

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