Gov’t spent P14 billion on protective gear, testing kits
MANILA, Philippines — The government has spent over P14 billion to buy more personal protective gear, testing kits and medical equipment to beef up its response against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In his 10th report to Congress, President Duterte said the Department of Health (DOH) bought 6,062,019 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) for P12.1 billion.
This is on top of 65,330 PPE sets, which were purchased using savings from a previous procurement.
The President said 1,458,000 PPE sets have been delivered to the government so far. Around 159,100 PPE bought by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) have been distributed to several health facilities.
In addition, the government bought nine different types of polymerase chain reaction test kits for P1.6 billion, which will be delivered by July.
The DBM’s Procurement Service, on the other hand, bought 10 units of automated nucleic acid extraction machines for P400 million.
Last week, the President took responsibility for the purchase of expensive medical equipment and supplies in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he does not want to compromise the safety of health-care workers.
Meanwhile, 158 out of 225 local and foreign donations of medical equipment and supplies have been delivered. The donations include 3,323,950 pieces of surgical masks, 101 ventilators, 307,940 N95 masks, and 222,779 PPE sets.
The DOH also distributed 14,460 Cepheid Xpert Xpress for COVID-19 cartridges to 12 GeneXpert accredited laboratories.
“The Department of Public Works and Highways and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority are currently preparing the Quezon Memorial Circle, Cuneta Astrodome, and Ynares Sports Arena into mega community quarantine centers,” the President said.
So far, the government has converted 11 facilities into “mega community quarantine facilities” for mild cases of COVID-19 infections, and suspected cases.
Other converted facilities are: the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, World Trade Center, Philippine International Convention Center-Forum, Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Philippine Sports Complex, Asean Convention Center, New Clark City-National Government Administrative Center, Philippine Arena, Filinvest Tent, Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, University of the Philippines-Mindanao Multi-Purpose Building Human Kinetics Building and Davao City Sports Complex.
The President said the converted facilities can accommodate 2,584 patients.
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