SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — As the Internet, and even social media, take on a greater role in the delivery of government services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced that it will henceforth conduct public bidding for big-ticket projects online.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency’s various Bids and Awards Committees (BAC’s) had decided that all future bidding processes will be conducted via online platforms and will be broadcast live through social media.
“Going online ensures transparency, efficiency, and safety,” Eisma stressed.
“The bidding process becomes faster, more transparent and credible, and at the same time it keeps participants secure from the COVID-19 virus,” she added.
For this purpose, the SBMA had recently created the Facebook page “SBMA Procurement Service,” which will be managed by the various BAC’s, Eisma said.
According to Atty. Michael Quintos, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Legal Affairs, the move to conduct bidding online is in accordance with Administrative Order 34, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte just last week, on Oct. 23.
While the AO requires all government offices to conduct online bidding for big infrastructure projects, the SBMA went one step further and decided to use social media platforms to go live during biddings for public viewing, Quintos said.
He also pointed out that in pre-pandemic times, and for projects worth P50 million and above, the SBMA Bids and Awards Committee already opened bids in the presence of observers from the Commission on Audit and disinterested non-government organizations to ensure transparency.
Eisma also noted that even before AO 34, the SBMA was already posting pre-bid announcements on the SBMA website and other online platforms on top of the required publication in newspapers of the invitation to bid.
“But putting the actual proceedings available for public viewing via social media would be one huge stride in SBMA’s efforts toward greater transparency. This will further strengthen the system,” Eisma added.
The SBMA chief also said that as the Covid-19 pandemic pushed practically the whole world to utilize Internet applications for business, the SBMA has been stepping up its adoption of new systems that would address new requirements and changing protocols.
She also noted that the agency has already established an online system of processing transactions with locators, suppliers, and other business entities a couple of years ago. Among the online transactions that the SBMA has established are services provided for port users, electronic billing and payment, filing for regulatory requirements, and lately online job application and medical consultations.