Early this morning, my brother, former Mayor and now Vice Mayor Lito Piñol posted in his Facebook page four photos of three firetrucks owned by the local government unit of M’lang, Cotabato, our hometown, which prove that President Rody Duterte was right all along when he said that in buying equipment, government must give emphasis on quality and not the lowest bid.
“not all lowest bid is advantageous to the government; picture 1&2 China made Firetruck purchased under DILG last 2015, now guba na iya water pump indi ma repair ky “throw away” ang parts, (recomendation sang Fire Chief kabitan sa likod sang power sprayer para gamiton pg may grass fire) picture 3, the 38years old BFP/INP Isuzu Firetruck still on service & picture 4 is the LGU Mlang purchased Isuzu Firetruck last 2014 rearing to answer the call of duty. govt should stop buying low quality machine, not all lowest bid is advantageous to the govt,” Vice Mayor Lito said in his post.
The Vice Mayor was referring to a firetruck purchased by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of previous administration in 2015, shortly before the Presidential elections, which is no longer serviceable now because of its “throw away” parts and the two other firetrucks bought by the LGU one of which is 38-year-old Isuzu Firetruck which was already in service when I was Mayor of M’lang from 1995 to 1998.
The DILG-procured firetruck is just three years old but it could no longer be used because its water pump could not be repaired as the parts are “throw away” and not available.
I do not know if it was a joke but Vice Mayor Lito said the recommendation of the M’lang Fire Chief is to load a portable power sprayer in the back of the DILG-procured firetruck so it could be used in putting out grass fire.
The issue of the “Lowest Bidder” rule in the government procurement process has always been tackled by President Duterte in our many Cabinet meetings.
He has emphasized that the “Lowest Bidder” policy opens the whole process to corruption and government ends up as the biggest loser.
Take the case of the DILG-Bureau of Fire Protection firetrucks purchased in 2015: How many units were bought by the previous administration? What is the status of these firetrucks now? How much did government lose in the transaction?
And while we are at it, I no longer see in the streets many of the India-made police patrol cars purchased by government through the DILG during the previous administration.
Obviously, those were also procured using the “Lowest Bidder” rule of government.
Indeed, President Duterte is right: “Lowest Bid Price Does not Mean Better Quality.”
There is really a need to revisit the Government Procurement Law or else the government will continue to suffer from endless financial hemorrhage.
(Photos of the DILG purchased firetruck and the old LGU-procured firetrucks taken by Vice Mayor Lito Piñol.)