WITHOUT doubt, this is something the Filipino people, including the taxpayers, should no longer ignore, particularly during a pandemic and other national emergencies.
It is allowing an officer-in-charge (OIC) of a government department, agency or office to enter into a long-term agreement or a high-value contract on behalf of the state.
That’s why we commend Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino for filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 2434, which seeks to amend the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No. 292 on OICs.
Specifically, the Senator Tolentino-proposed piece of legislation calls for defining and limiting the powers that may be exercised by a government officer-in-charge.
The proposal stemmed from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee public hearing on the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report on the Department of Health (DOH).
Based on the report, an OIC of the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management signed billions of pesos worth of contracts involving medical supplies.
Under Senator Tolentino’s SB No. 2434, the powers of an OIC are confined only to functions of administration and ensuring that the department continues its usual activities.
The designation should not exceed six months. And the appointing authority ought to fill up the position with a permanent official as soon as possible.
Of course, this is to prevent a temporary appointee from holding the position for a long time to ensure efficiency in the government’s day-to-day operations.
In the view of many, the soft-spoken but highly-effective neophyte senator is on the right track in seeking the amendment of EO 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987.
It’s long overdue.