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Bulacan Guv Sy-Alvarado quizzed over P329M medicine deals

Aug 27, 2015 @ 3:11

Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado is being asked to explain the provincial government’s procurement of P329.25 million worth of medicines and laboratory supplies which the Commission on Audit (COA) found to be questionable.

In an audit report, COA revealed the series of procurements were riddled with irregularities, including lack of public bidding, contract splitting, and lack of basic documents such as certifications from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“Items costing P165,273,834.71 or 50.20 percent were purchased through shopping, depriving the province of additional discounts that it could have gained from bulk procurement,” the COA said, as reported by Malaya.

Based on COA records, the province purchased P213.45 million worth of “drugs and medicines” in 2014, with P109.94 million going through public bidding while P103.51 million was made through shopping.

Procurement of “medical, dental, and laboratory supplies” totalled P115.8 million, with just P54.03 million going through bidding and P61.76 million undertaken through shopping.

“Owing to the huge volume of transactions, the audit team conducted verification on selected transactions. Based on …analysis of documents, we concluded that the series of purchases of hospital requirements through shopping from the same suppliers…warranted the adoption of competitive bidding,” the COA report stated.

Under the Government Procurement Reform Act, a first-class province like Bulacan is allowed to avail of alternative modes of procurement like shopping but only with a P500,000 ceiling in a transaction.

Random sampling by the audit team revealed a pattern of circumvention of rules wherein multiple contracts went to chosen suppliers all below the P500,000 limit.

The audit report cited the case of GJK Pharma Distributors which won four supply contracts all on the same day–March 13, 2014–for amounts of P498,868.50; P497,108.50; P487,886; and P498,691, all naming Bulacan Medical Center as end-user.

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