PS-DBM is a catastrophe (3)

PS-DBM was created by law to help harmonize and make efficient the procurement of commonly used items… by government agencies that would also save taxpayers’ money.

September 7, 2022

National, corporate, and local government officials are asking how they would procure supplies, materials, and equipment to fill their needs.

The advice of this column is to follow the recommendation of Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III that government agencies should not deal with PS-DBM, and that you should procure your needs through the bids and award committees during this time when the PS-DBM is under question.

PS-DBM was created by law to help harmonize and make efficient the procurement of commonly used items, such as office supplies, pens, and pencils, by government agencies that would also save taxpayers’ money. But what has been happening favored traders picked by agents of PS-DBM who were allowed to supply commodities even to a local government unit that used its scarce resources to purchase unnecessary quantities of office supplies by the millions, beyond its annual needs.

And this has become a common practice for the procurement of all types of supplies and materials from 2010 to 2021, resulting in this gargantuan magnitude of abuse uncovered by the senators.

This reminds us of the aftermath of the “big purge” in 1975, when President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos dismissed from the service 2,000 officials and employees, including auditors and technical inspectors, for various offenses and acts of dishonesty they committed against the people.

I wrote the following article a few months after that big purge:

All our reorganizational efforts aimed at streamlining personnel structure; updating accounting principles, rules, regulations, reporting and evaluation techniques, and upgrading the technical competence of auditing personnel through comprehensive training programs will come to naught if we fail to perceive the reality — that many of us need to reorient our thinking and values. One vital ingredient is necessary if we tend to even come close to mastering the difficult issues of the day. Attitude in a time when our people are becoming impatient and the auditor’s actions are held up to question and sometimes scorn; there is a need like never before for honest, prompt, sincere and efficient service.

Transitory drives and exhortations to get involved are not nearly enough. In our effort toward change, to shape the programs, channel the energies of concerned people, and follow them through the end, we must all have that effective, rational, and farsighted attitude. Our traditional values — courtesy, uprightness, and respect for law and authority have been severely undermined. Dishonesty, corruption, indecisiveness, and failure to be candid have caused the downfall of a number of our auditing personnel, eliciting an apologetic defensiveness on us who are left. We felt the full impact of the purge, which reflected very badly on our institution.

It is time for all of us to evaluate our basic premises. Some may be prejudicial or simply outworn. These should be abandoned. The core of our philosophy must be strong enough to withstand even the whirlwind of change sweeping through our society today. We should have the kind of concerned, responsible, and positive attitude needed in the community and the nation. Many of us are ideally qualified for such a role because our training and experience are directed toward a rational solution to problems. Those of us who are not should strive to be so.

President Ferdinand E. Marcos in his “Notes on the New Society” exhorts every one of us to create a new situation that would be encouraging every Filipino to depend on one another for the achievement of social goals, to resurrect the Bayanihan spirit, for this human solidarity and cooperation, this sense of community, is not just a moral precept but a necessity of our time: The very complexity of collective life and the enormities of its problems demand of us a united zeal unprecedented in the history of peoples and of mankind.

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