WE wish to clarify some of the points raised in the articles titled, “Duterte clips DND chief’s powers” by Llanesca T. Panti (Manila Times, April 18, 2017) and “Clipping of powers fine with defense chief’ by Fernan Marasigan (Manila Times, April 18, 2017).
Executive Order No. 18 does not “clip” the power of the Secretary of National Defense to engage in defense procurement as the title of the article suggests. On the contrary, it gives the Defense Secretary more flexibility to exercise supervision over the procurement process.
EO No. 18 amended ED 235, which provides that the Secretary of National Defense may only delegate to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) the authority to approve procurement projects which are below P50 million. Beyond the said amount, procurement projects must be elevated to the DND for approval. With AFP projects amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos based on actual requirements, the P50 million cap has become unrealistic, making the procurement process cumbersome, and in effect holds back the AFP in the performance of its missions which are now at an increased operational tempo.
EO 18, on the other hand, will enable the defense establishment to fast-track its procurement process, especially for materiel that are badly needed by the operating units in the field. In fact, the Defense Department initiated the repeal of EO 235 to give the Secretary of National Defense the authority to increase the ceiling of the procurement projects that can be undertaken at the level of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or its major services, based on its operational and day-to-day requirements.
We can assure your readers that all processes in the DND are in accordance with the law, particularly RA 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003, and RA 10349, or the Revised AFP Modernization Act.
Director Arsenio R. Andolong, MNSA, CESE
Chief, Public Affairs Service
Department of National Defense