BOC urged to release medical supplies held at warehouse
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday appealed to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to release medical supplies such as face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) stored in its warehouse.
“We’re now calling the commissioner of Customs to release it immediately, kung ‘yan lang ang problema. Baka meron lang requirements silang hinahantay. We will urge him to facilitate the release of these supplies,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.
Panelo made the appeal after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. revealed that “tons” of PPEs are stored at the BOC’s warehouse.
Locsin said this as the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) alongside other hospitals appealed for face masks and PPEs to protect the front-line health workers who are responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.
Panelo also assured that more medical supplies are coming in and that a pharmaceutical company, which he did not name, even offered its factory to fast track the manufacture of medical gear.
Funds needed to address the virus will also not be a problem, Panelo further assured.
“Wala tayong problema sa funds. We have sufficient funds. Ganun din sinasabi ni [Department of Budget and Management] Secretary Wendel [Avisado]. Meron tayong pera,” he said.
(We don’t have a problem with funds. We have sufficient funds. That’s what Secretary Wendel said. We have money.)
The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency due to the virus, which originated from Hubei province in China.
Health officials have so far recorded 140 cases, including 12 fatalities, related to COVID-19 in the country.
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