Just this week the company Anos Research Manufacturing (ARM), the sole local manufacturer of firetrucks in our country,came out with a full page ad in several major newspapers expressing their disappointment on the alleged decision by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to purchase firetrucks from foreign companies. Apparently, for the past several years they haven’t undergone any bidding process and have been the sole supplier of firetrucks that are being purchased by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) thus, they are now wondering why Robredo suddenly decided to accept other bidders from other countries. I don’t really understand why they are questioning this move by Robredo since there is really nothing wrong given that all government procurement of equipment should really undergo transparent and accountable public bidding wherein different suppliers can take part in. If ARM is very confident about the quality of its product then it should be more than willing to comply with the bidding process and not bring the battle to the level of public opinion which it is doing now.
As for supporting Filipino-made products, I am all for that but if a locally made firetruck is more inferior and more expensive than a foreign made one, does that still mean that I have no choice but to procure the locally made one even if it could mean costing our government millions more or even risking the lives of many because it is of lesser quality? Wouldn’t it be a graver injustice to every Filipino if we have to pay more for a firetruck that we all know is of lesser quality compared to a much better firetruck which would cost less but is made abroad? Given our government’s lack of resources to support the BFP, the millions of pesos that the BFP and the DILG will save through a proper and transparent bidding process could easily be used to procure additional fire prevention equipment that would eventually benefit the general public. I hope that ARM would be professional enough to accept the decision made by the DILG and the BFP and not act like a spoiled brat or sore loser who is trying to gain sympathy by bringing this issue to the court of public opinion.
There is no injustice committed by the DILG to ARM, the only injustice here is how ARM is now trying to tarnish the name of a good, upright leader because he decided against a few vested interests by making the right decision that will ultimately benefit the Filipino people.
Harvey S. Keh
Lead Convenor, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership