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10 February 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. received yesterday at the Philippine Embassy a high-level delegation from the Philippine Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) that is in the United States in connection with the Philippines Procurement Assistance Program under the Global Procurement Initiative of the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

The Philippine delegation is composed of Undersecretaries Carlo Carag (Finance), Ardeliza Medenilla (Public Works and Highways), Analiza Rebuelta Teh (Environment and Natural Resources), Edwin Enrile (Interior and Local Government), Catherine Gonzales (Transportation and Communication), Raul Aguilos (Energy), Carol Yorobe (Science and Technology) and Rolando Tungpalan (NEDA); and other officials from the Departments of Budget and Management, Education, Health, Public Works and Highways, and Trade and Industry, as well as the GPPB Technical Support Office. The delegation is in Washington, DC on 6-10 February, and will then proceed to Boston (10-11 February), New York (11-14 February) and Los Angeles (14-17 February).

The study visit is a follow-up to the three-day workshop held in September 2015 in Manila that provided training to fifty (50) public procurement officials from various Philippine government agencies with respect to incorporating life-cycle cost analysis and value for money elements into government procurement practices in order to obtain the best value for government funds and improve overall procurement outcomes.

Ambassador Cuisia expressed full support for the project and emphasized the importance of improving efficiency in government procurement during his brief remarks to the delegation.

“While the Aquino Administration has implemented a menu of crucial policy reforms, the inter-agency effort to reform the public procurement process may be one of the most critical, yet relatively underemphasized, initiative in ensuring bureaucratic efficiency while the Government gears public procurement and government spending towards attaining the best value for the Filipino people,” the Ambassador remarked.

Executive Director Dennis S. Santiago of the GPPB Technical Support Office echoed the message of the Ambassador, reiterating his earlier statement during the Manila workshop that, “as the Philippine economy further accelerates, it becomes even more crucial for government to work efficiently to support the country’s growth.”

According to USTDA, the Procurement Assistance Program will advance the Philippine Government’s 2016 agenda to reform public procurement and increase infrastructure spending.

Andrea Lupo, Director for Global Programs at the USTDA, said, “It has been an honor for USTDA to host our partners from the Government of the Philippines to strengthen our cooperation under the Global Procurement Initiative.  Such high-level representation on this visit demonstrates the Government’s commitment to obtaining the greatest value for public funds and the best development outcomes for the citizens of the Philippines.”

In Washington, DC, the delegation is expected to have a briefing on Best Value for Money, Innovations and Best Practices in Government Acquisition, as well as an overview of the U.S. Procurement System.  In the other cities, they are expected to meet with procurement officials and to view case studies in value-based procurement.  In Boston, the delegation will also visit MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub to hear about innovative life-cycle cost analysis models for public infrastructure projects.

The USTDA Global Procurement Initiative (GPI) aims to educate public procurement officials about the use of best value and life-cycle cost analysis in the procurement process. Through the GPI, the USTDA has partnered with world-class experts from the George Washington University Government Procurement Law Program to provide in-country workshops, orientation visits/study tours to the United States, and in-house procurement technical advisors.

Ambassador Cuisia thanked the USTDA officials who accompanied the Philippine delegation for the Philippines Procurement Assistance Program. He said that the program will promote transparency and accountability, and contribute to the sustainability of good governance and reform in government procurement.

“This program and visit of the GPPB delegation early on in the 70th year of Philippine-US diplomatic relations is also a clear manifestation of our dynamic bilateral ties, and a testament to the strength of our partnership for mutual prosperity,” the Ambassador added. ###