PS-DBM is a catastrophe

Senator Imee Marcos was correct in recommending the abolition of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management. From 2010 and 2021, the procurement scheme designed by DBM had caused confusion and disabled the state from fulfilling its primordial mission of spreading the fortune of society from the affluent areas of the metropolis to the poorest of the poor in farthest barangays.

The corruption uncovered by the senators in the PS-DBM scheme is just the tip of the iceberg. It has been there for decades. It was at its worst when Florencio Abad was DBM secretary when he effectively applied the chaotic DBM fund disbursement system and practices leading to the loss of at least P1 trillion of pork barrel money.

This loss jeopardized the intentions of our forebears who worked hard to pass the decentralization law.

In short, it would now be difficult to implement the final phase of the decentralization.

The transfer of the basic functions and services to local governments may not fully take effect.

The Mandanas-Garcia ruling may just come in miniscule releases by the DBM for the critical programs and projects of local government units.

That is how the PS-DBM stands as the menace to the interest of the local government units.

A moment of extension of the PS-DBM under the technical provisions of the procurement law, combined with the chaotic funding system of DBM, is an eternity of deprivation for the poor and the underprivileged.

The people are just being taken for a ride by the technical men of DBM who crafted the procurement law. Let us take, for example, the case of the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia deal.

When DBM crafted the procurement law, they provided an audit trail for online transactions and allowed the Commission on Audit to verify the security and integrity of the systems of electronic procurement, at any time, even after the withdrawal of pre-audit.

The people are asking: If the procurement law can provide an audit trail to allow CoA to verify the security and integrity of the system of electronic procurement, why did it not provide an audit trail to allow CoA to verify the safety and efficacy of the medicines procured any time to protect lives and the public interest, which are primordial concerns of the state?

It was found that prior to the determination of the medicine’s safety and efficacy, the full delivery of Dengvaxia vaccine was accepted and fully paid.

After 729,660 children were administered the Dengvaxia vaccine ordered by the administration of President Noynoy Aquino, despite the advice of the World Health Organization against it, the children were put at risk of contracting severe dengue.

Shortly thereafter, several of these children died. That caused panic among parents nationwide. Vaccination programs against dengue became a fearful concern.

The money lost in Dengvaxia was just a drop in the bucket compared to how much is being lost every day that PS-DBM is allowed to continue its scheme.

CoA chairperson Jose Calida, who as Solicitor General had an excellent record, will have his hands full scrutinizing carefully the accounts and financial transactions that went through the PS-DBM process.

Certain provisions of Presidential Decree 1445 provide a special power that serves as a deterrence to corruption.

SECTION 46. Seizure of office by the auditor:

(1) The books, accounts, papers and cash of any local treasurer or other accountable officer shall at all times be open to the inspection of the Commission or its duly authorized representative; and
(2) In case an examination of the account of a local treasurer discloses a shortage in cash which should be on hand, it shall be the duty of the examining officer to seize the office and its contents, notify the Commission and the local chief executive and thereupon take full possession and control of the office.
(To be continued)

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