AS-550 Fennec helicopter (photo : Militaryphotos)
MANILA, Philippines - The inter-agency Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has rejected a request by the Department of National Defense (DND) to acquire 10 attack helicopters from France through negotiated procurement.
A GPPB resolution, a copy of which was obtained by The STAR, showed the DND had planned to acquire 10 attack helicopters through negotiated procurement under a Defense Cooperation Agreement with France.
The move was in line with the DND’s plan to acquire defense equipment through government-to-government transactions to fast-track the military’s upgrade efforts.
The approved budget for the procurement of the 10 attack helicopters is P3.4 billion.
In its request, the DND cited Section 53.8 of the implementing rules of the procurement law, which allowed negotiated procurement with a country with which the Philippines has entered into a defense cooperation agreement (DCA).
Negotiated procurement is defined as a method of procurement wherein the procuring entity directly negotiates a contract with a technically, legally and financially capable supplier, contractor or consultant.
Under the rules, a negotiated procurement can be applied in DCA upon prior approval by the President, and when, among other conditions, the expertise or capability required is not available locally.
The DND told the GPBB that the purchase of 10 attack helicopters through DCA is needed to enhance internal security, maritime security, and disaster response operations.
The DND said national interest would be protected by negotiating directly with an agency or instrumentality of another country with which the Philippines has entered into a DCA.
The GPPB, however, denied the request, saying the DND “failed to meet the requirement to negotiate directly with an agency or instrumentality of another country.”
The GPBB said that in the DCA with France, the DND will be negotiating with a private supplier identified by the partner country, not with the partner country itself or its agency or instrumentality.
The same is true with the DCA with Italy, from which the DND is planning to acquire at least three naval helicopters, the GPBB added.
The GPBB recommended that the DND acquire the helicopters through negotiated procurement under an emergency case “due to existence of causes where immediate action is necessary to prevent damage to or loss of life or property.”
The GPBB said the recommendation to tap emergency procurement was based on DND’s information that the country is still in a volatile situation due to armed groups like communist rebels and terrorists and the recent developments in the West Philippine Sea.
“The DCAs merely contemplate support and assistance by the partner country, through referral of an industry supplier within the jurisdiction of the partner country,” the GPBB resolution read.