DICT proposes transparency rooms for gov’t bidding process

By Rosette Adel

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DICT Assistant Secretary Carlos Mayorico Caliwara proposed to establish transparency rooms where the biddings would be held to avoid corruption and anomalies in the government procurement process. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — An official from the Department of Information and Communications Technology on Thursday made several suggestions on how to fight corruption and improve the government procurement process.

DICT Assistant Secretary Carlos Mayorico Caliwara proposed to establish transparency rooms where the biddings would be held to avoid corruption and anomalies in the government procurement process.

Caliwara said once approved, the agencies would impose no contact policies and all procurement process would be conducted in transparency rooms.

He added that the transparency rooms would be equipped with CCTV cameras.

“Recorded ang conversation— wala nang bulungan dito (Conversations are recorded – there would be no whispering),” Caliwara said in a public briefing in Quezon City on Thursday.

No more coffee shops, no more hotel, no more restaurant, no more hotel, no more motel, no more restaurants,” he added in Filipino.

Caliwara made the suggestion during the launch of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism’s case study titled “Public Contracting in the Philippines: Breakthroughs and Barriers.” The research reviewed the infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways and its consulting agencies.

The PCIJ study revealed that accessing the contracts of the government remain to be challenging for the citizens.

Aside from transparency rooms, Caliwara also suggested to create transparency councils, technical working groups, which would implement stiffer rules on procurement process such as logbook for all bidders and no gift policy, among others.

Caliwara said procurement process takes at least 135 days because there is no penalty. To hasten the process, he recommended conducting workshop on contract writing and compliance.

The DICT official also wants to impart the concept of open contracting or transparency in government contracts to High School and College students. He said seminars on transparency should start while the citizens are young.

Caliwara also wanted to impose citizen-friendly databases for the public and to  promote citizen engagement and proactive monitoring of government projects.

According to Hivos Program Manager Viviene Suerte-Cortez, the government spends 70 percent of its expenditures on public contracts while while 29 percent is spent on public procurement. 

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