Hontiveros says P4B worth of PPEs procured by gov’t are ‘unaccounted’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros suspects there is around P4 million worth of allegedly unaccounted personal protective equipment (PPE) sets that the government had procured for its response efforts to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Previously, Hontiveros said the government may have lost at least P1 billion in taxpayer money after the Department of Budget Management (DBM) purchased allegedly overpriced PPEs from five Chinese companies.
Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao later denied this and said the PPE sets made in China were in fact the cheapest and best options for the Philippines during the first months of its pandemic response.
But in a statement Sunday, the senator said: “The P1 billion-peso loss is even a conservative estimate.”
She cited the Quarter 2 report of the DBM from April to May which states that “the Department of Health (DOH) has ordered another 5.1 million PPE sets amounting to around P10.2 billion. The procurement of which is ongoing.”
“This means the DBM and DOH were procuring PPE sets for P2,000 each. However, also in May, the Palace reported that during their Inter-Agency Task Force meeting, the government procured PPE sets worth P1,100 each,” said Hontiveros.
“There’s a huge discrepancy there. Where is the extra P900 going? That’s around P4 billion worth of PPE sets that is unaccounted for. Mukhang may nagsasayang ng pera ng mamamayan. Mukhang may kumikita talaga (It seems there is someone wasting public funds. It appears that someone is benefiting from this),” she added.
Hontiveros also noted that the Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPE (CPMP), a group of Filipino companies, was ready to respond to the needs of the pandemic and yet the government continued to import PPEs.
She said the DBM and the DOH should engage with and prioritize local producers of PPEs as this will even benefit Filipino manufacturers.
Hontiveros earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 479 to investigate the allocation of funds for the COVID-19 response under the Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
“We need this audit to inform our budget deliberations in the Senate,” she said.
“I will also have the agencies submit documents related to the aforementioned questionable procurements for our budget hearings. The public can be assured that we will hold them to account,” the senator added.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.