Garin questions DOH purchase of ‘unheard brand’ CT-scan machines
MANILA, Philippines — Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin on Tuesday questioned the Department of Health’s (DOH) procurement of CT-scan machines from a brand that, she said, “nobody has ever heard of.”
During the online briefing of the House committee on health on DOH’s proposed budget for 2021, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, asked if anyone in the agency is familiar with the brand Anke—to which Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he was not.
Duque also asked Undersecretary Ma. Carolina Vidal-Taino from the Procurement and Supply Chain Management Team if she was familiar with the brand, to which the latter also responded in the negative.
It was here that Director Marlyn Convocar of DOH Region VI said that they were previously able to procure CT-scan equipment with the Anke brand.
Garin said her district was given an amount for the procurement of CT-scan equipment for the San Joaquin Hospital, the only hospital in Southern Iloilo.
“Ang nangyari, when it was bidding, hindi kami nangialam but then to our surprise, nung-i-install na, of course, everybody was looking forward to the project and here comes DOH promoting the brand Anke kaya tumawag ako, ilang usapan ‘yun,” Garin said.
“Nagulat ako because it’s a brand that I have never heard. Sabi ko, ‘kung okay naan ‘yan, go’,” she added.
However, Garin said that upon investigation, “it turned out that nobody has ever heard about this brand.”
Garin also bared that Convocar herself admitted that the brand has a “falsified” certification that would have supposedly ensured that the equipment being procured by the DOH are of quality.
“If nobody knew about that brand, paano siya pumasa sa quality standards ng DOH? After that I was informed that if I have questions, we just file a case,” Garin said.
“Being in my district at alam ng lahat ng constituents ko that we funded that, I don’t want to be misconstrued as the one promoting that brand kasi kapag nandyan na yan tapos nasira after one year or nasira after two years, and sasabihin niyan, ‘ay ang pinondohan ng Kongreso na CT-scan hindi tumagal kasi ang brand hindi kilala,” the lawmaker added.
Duque said they will initiate an investigation regarding the matter.
“Certainly, I will initiate an investigation on the matter and I would request your Honor if you could give us some documents, independent of the documents that are being required the region to submit because we would also like to know we might have some other sources of information that will help us speed up the investigation,” Duque said.
Garin said the central office can handle the investigation and check if the brand has complied with the health department’s requirements.
DOH can also check with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) if a CT-scan by the brand name of Anke has ever been supplied in the country, said Garin.
In the same hearing, Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde said the DOH is proposing a P203.7 billion budget for 2021 mainly focused on the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law and the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed budget for next year is 27 percent higher than the 2020 budget, said Villaverde.
“The 2021 budget, as proposed, is 27 percent higher than the 2020 budget level,” Villaverde told lawmakers during the online briefing of the House committee on health.
“This is mainly due to the increase in the allocation for HRH (human resources for health) deployment program from P9.95 billion this year to P16.6 billion in 2021 as well as the increase in the medical assistance to indigent patients from P10.5 billion this year to P17.3 billion proposed for next year,” he added.
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