An update on NAMFREL's participation in the Medicine Monitoring Project

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.27
NAMFREL-MMP (Medicine Monitoring Project) continues to implement monitoring in areas where the local chapters are also performing voluntary work to promote good governance. Currently, monitoring is limited only to public bidding. Outside Metro Manila, 14 hospitals and CHDs (Centers for Health Development) are currently being monitored: 7 in Luzon, 2 in the Visayas, and 4 in Mindanao.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), NAMFREL secretariat continuously sends observers to monitor the public bidding activities in various hospitals and CHDs to ensure that the Bids and Awards Committees (BACs) are performing their duties pursuant to the Government Procurement Reform Act 9184. NAMFREL secretariat’s monitoring at the moment is limited to procurement activities. 14 hospitals and CHDs in Metro Manila are currently being monitored.

From January 2012 to October 2012, NAMFREL monitored a total of PhP 2.7 billion worth of various pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical products including infrastructure projects, janitorial and security services. NAMFREL volunteer-observers testified that BAC employs a non-discretionary pass/fail criterion to determine eligible bidders. The bidding process complies with the provisions of the procurement law to make the bidding process fair and transparent.

The DOH through its Integrity Development Committee (IDC) has responded proactively to NAMFREL’s findings and recommendations to counter corruption practices within the agency. For instance, in 2006 when NAMFREL reported an unadvertised procurement worth PhP 11 million at Margosatubig Regional Hospital (MRH) in Zamboanga del Sur, the DOH-IDC issued an order to the Chief of Hospital to declare bidding failure due to disregarding Section 21 of the GPRA 9184. In the same year, NAMFREL reported that there were members of the HBACs who were not trained on the procurement law. These prompted the DOH to conduct a nationwide training on the provisions of the GPRA 9184 making the HBAC members more competent in handling fair and transparent procurement process.

After the MMP2, NAMFREL made recommendations to the DOH-IDC, based on reports made by volunteer observers:
Reiterate the need for the presence of observers in all stages of the procurement process, including the pre-procurement and post-qualification, apart from the pre-bid conference and opening of bids.
Advise the BAC and the Supply/Pharmacy Officer to furnish NAMFREL with copies of the
same procurement-related documents that they forwarded to the COA.
Advise the Procuring Entity of both RH and CHDs to publish their Annual Procurement Plan (APP) in their respective website for public reference and transparency.
Advise the Supply Officer to provide NAMFREL with the schedule of delivery specifically for pharmaceutical products.

Since the MMP was implemented, NAMFREL noted that the bidding process and transactions in the health agency became more transparent. The following were the observations made by volunteer observers:
HBACs are now more open and receptive to the participation of NAMFREL observers in all of the public bidding activities conducted by the hospitals;
Prices offered by the bidders/suppliers during the bidding are actually competitive;
Pharmaceutical products are more accessible now at the hospital level as compared to the past.
Pharmaceutical products were actually delivered and received on time by the hospitals in accordance to the awards and specifications.
Under the watch of observers during post- delivery monitoring, pharmaceutical products were delivered promptly to hospitals and CHDs, as stipulated in the contracts awarded to the suppliers.

In the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) corruption perception survey, two of the three government agencies NAMFREL currently monitors are placed in the top three institutions of government seen as least corrupt, namely the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DepEd).