Duterte wants 'Swiss challenge' for gov’t projects, not public bidding

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he wants to do away with public bidding on government projects, and instead prefers the Swiss challenge system.

“Huwag na tayong mag-bidding. ‘Pag mag-bidding ganun rin. Mas lalo nang matagal...All projects of the Philippines would be something like a Swiss challenge...ito gawain mo, pagkatapos niyan, if you do it correctly at walang corruption, I will pay you,” Duterte said upon his arrival from India.

[Translation: Let’s not have biddings anymore, because it’s slow. All projects of the Philippines would be something like a Swiss challenge. You do this, and when you do it properly without corruption, I will pay you.]

Under the Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act, the government awards the contract to the lowest bidder.

The Swiss challenge system, meanwhile, allows a private group to send a proposal to the government, then third parties can either match or surpass the proposal.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday said Duterte wanted to implement the Swiss challenge system to avoid corruption through the bidding process.

“Alam naman niya iyong hocus-pocus na nangyayari diyan sa mga government bidding na ‘yan. Sa totoo lang kaya may ‘tongpats’, kasi wala namang honest-to-goodness bidding na nangyayari. Kasi kung talagang may lowest bidder diyan, walang kita,” Roque said.

[Translation: He knows the hocus-pocus happening during government biddings. In reality, bribery happens because there are no honest-to-goodness biddings. Lowest bidders don’t earn profit.]

Roque added the government will implement the Swiss challenge system for rebuilding the war-torn city of Marawi.