COA flags PITC for overprice PPEs

September 1, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 245 views

ANOTHER government procurement agency has entered into a questionable contract for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) in 2020.

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) for awarding the contract to a supplier that quoted higher prices for PPE.

The PITC, according to government auditors, ignored the lower offers relative to the Department of Health (DOH) PPE procurement with Reference No. GPG-EP-2020-038.

The contract had a total approved budget of P186.584 million.

“PITC awarded the emergency procurement of various brand new PPE with a total Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) of P186.584 million to a bidder capable of delivering all items without considering the lowest price proposal for each item,” the audit team said.

Responding to COA, the PITC explained that under the “emergency procurement system” for DOH, greater weight was given to suppliers who can deliver most, if not all, of the required items.

It added, it was ideal that medical frontliners have the complete set of PPE rather than only certain items.

The PITC said at the time the price quotations were requested on March 31, 2020 there was an “uneven supply” because of the declaration of a global pandemic.

“Anyone familiar with RA 9184 and its IRR (implementing rules and regulations) would know that the lowest price proposal is never the sole factor in determining the winning bidder entitled to an award of the contract,” the PITC said in its comment.

However, the COA insisted that a lower price is “still one of the primary considerations in awarding the contract” particularly when all the bidders have met eligibility and technical requirements.

Auditors noted that the chosen supplier delivered 148,000 shoe covers at P16.80 when another supplier submitted a quotation at only P5.00 per shoe cover or less than a third of the cost eventually paid by the DOH.

In addition, the winning contractor was paid for 74,000 aprons at P110 each when the lowest bid was only P105 per apron.

Should the lower price prevail, the government could have saved P2,166,400 if the PITC picked the lowest price offer.

The PITC request for quotation listed 10 items: 74,000 gowns at P450 each for a total of P33.3 million; 74,000 N95 masks at P100 each (P7.4 million); 74,000 goggles at P484 each (P35.816 million); 74,000 head cover at P7.00 each (P518,000); 148,000 shoe cover at P16.95 each (P2.508 million); 74,000 aprons at P110 each (P8.14 million); 74,000 surgical mask at P22.50 each (P1.665 million); 74,000 coverall at P700 each (P51.8 million); 74,000 face shield at P604 each (P44.696 million); and 74,000 pairs of gloves at P10 each (P740,000).

A cross-check with the PITC’s Bids and Awards Committee notices showed all 10 contracts at an aggregate cost of P129.8 million were awarded on April 1,2020 to Biosite Medical Instruments, a medical supply contractor with a business address at 512-A Manga Street, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City.