Removal of SARO to benefit country, says Malacañang Print
Saturday, 04 January 2014 13:47

The government could now speed up building major infrastructure projects that benefit the country with the removal of special allotment release orders (SAROs), Malacanang said on Friday.

“It will be easier for them (agencies) to front-load projects, at least ideally within the first week of January, you can already award projects,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

Valte said that with the current system, agencies can do their pre-procurement activities immediately after the approval of the national budget and not wait for several weeks before starting the process.

She said that ideally, by first week of January, agencies can start issuing notice of award.

In previous years, agencies have to wait for the special allotment release orders or SAROs before they can start pre-procurement process, she said, noting that the SAROs serve as the green light for the agencies.

“More importantly, binabawasan nang pagtanggal nung requirement ng GAA as a release document and red tape or the papers that have to be accomplished and submitted; and you lessen opportunities for corruption because there is less red tape,” Valte said.

Asked how the abolition of SAROs shield government projects from anomalies, Valte said government agencies are now more transparent and responsible.

At the same time, they have to follow the legal process when it comes to procurement, disbursement, and liquidation. This safeguard is in addition to the audit and assessment being done by the Commission on Audit, she said.

While the government is removing SAROs, Valte said special purpose funds and lump sum funds still need SARO given their lump sum nature.

Calamity fund for instance need SARO because certain criteria mandated by law has to be met before a request is approved, according to Valte.

The Palace official also said that the Department of Budget and Management is already in the process of computerizing the issuance of SAROs for lump sum items to speed up the process.