President Rodrigo Duterte has clipped the powers of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in approving government contracts.
The President signed Executive Order (EO) 18 which repeals EO 235 signed by former President Gloria Arroyo.
The repealed EO No. 235 provides that: “except for contracts required by law to be acted upon and/or approved by the President, the Secretary of National Defense will have the authority to sign and/or approve government contracts of the Department of National Defense and any of its bureaus, offices or agencies, before the government contract shall be considered approved in accordance with law and binding on the government, provided that the Secretary of National Defense may delegate in writing to appropriate officials, subject to appropriate ceilings, this authority to sign and/or approve a Government contract below P50 million as he sees fit under the circumstances.”
Duterte said that since the issuance of EO 235, the Defense department and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have identified other reform measures to promote transparency, impartiality and accountability in procurement transactions.
“It has been observed that the implementation of EO 235 resulted in bureaucratic impediments and unnecessary delays in the procurement of important defense projects,” EO No. 18 read.
EO No. 18 mandates the Defense chief to identify and institutionalize measures that will effectively monitor the operations of the separate Bids and Awards Committees, which may be created pursuant to the Government Procurement law to ensure and promote transparency, impartiality, and accountability in government transactions.