OCD to oversee medicine, equipment donations to gov’t
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) with the handling of all medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and other health products donated to the government or to the Department of Health (DOH) in the fight against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In his Administrative Order No. 27 (AO 27) on Tuesday, the President directed the OCD to establish a framework for accepting, managing, distributing and delivering medical items donated to the country during the six-month national state of calamity.
The whole island of Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine, or lockdown, to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the acute respiratory ailment that has afflicted more than 2,000 and killed 96 people in the country.
The donations are to be transmitted to the OCD for consolidation, whether they come from foreign governments, private entities, nongovernmental organizations, or any groups or individuals.
The DOH on Tuesday said all the 1 million sets of personal protection equipment it had purchased for P1.8 billion would be directly sent to the OCD for distribution to hospitals around the country.
Not covered by order
The directive does not apply to direct donations of perishable goods and goods of nominal value, such as accommodation, transportation and basic necessities used by health workers.
Direct donations to government hospitals or medical facilities, other departments, bureaus, offices, state universities and colleges, and government-owned and -controlled corporations will still be allowed and do not need to be consolidated in the OCD.
But the recipients would have to report these to the disaster agency in connection with its authority to allocate assets.
Carlito Galvez Jr., the President’s peace adviser who has been appointed chief implementer of the national policy against COVID-19, was directed to oversee the OCD’s tasks.
AO 27 cited the urgent need to properly consolidate and manage all donations to the government, or to the DOH, and to assist the health department to efficiently and quickly deliver assistance to the public during the national emergency.
‘Acts of altruism’
“The government recognizes that the outpouring of donations of medical supplies and other medical products, including crucial personal protective equipment and basic necessities such as food to support health workers in the private sector deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, are acts that are not intended to gain favors or to influence government action but are acts of altruism and generosity of Filipinos, nongovernmental entities, foreign nationals and foreign governments,” it said.
The OCD was told to prepare an inventory of all donations and to coordinate with other departments to determine which facilities or establishments need the donated items.
It may also reallocate direct donations received by different agencies to other health facilities or establishments that have a greater need, subject to approval by Galvez.
The order also directs the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies involved in certifying and regulating donated medicines and medical equipment to speed up the process of accreditation or clearance.
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