Duque: ‘We would go to jail if not all DOH transactions are documented’
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday assured that all transactions of the Department of Health (DOH) are accounted for and documented, otherwise officials and employees would go to jail.
This is in answer to the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) where it found deficiencies on how DOH managed the P67.32-billion fund for its COVID-19 pandemic response.
Duque said that all of the procurement of medical items, such as medical ventilators, COVID-19 testing kits, personal protective equipment and medicine, which the DOH relegated to the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PSDBM), are all documented.
“Lahat ‘yan may kaakibat na mga dokumento. Hindi pwedeng walang dokumento ‘yan. We would all go to jail if we do that na wala kaming basis,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(All of them have corresponding documents. It’s not allowed to have it undocumented. We would all go to jail if we do that that we have no basis.)
“So hindi p’wede ‘yan. I will not allow that to happen,” he added
(That’s not allowed. I will not allow that to happen.)
COA’s annual audit report for DOH in 2020 revealed that the deficiencies are caused by non-compliance with laws and regulations, which led to missed opportunities for the department primarily tasked with managing the pandemic.
It also pointed out that billions of pesos in funds from DOH remain unobligated and disbursed, which, COA said, is “counter-beneficial to the Department’s continuing efforts towards controlling the spread of COVID-19 through the provision of quality health service.”
However, Duque pointed out that the P11 billion flagged by the COA as unobligated funds have already been obligated and used already.
He said the P11 billion from the P79 billion funds provided under the Bayanihan 2 law was used for healthcare workers’ benefits and special risk allowances when the validity of the law was extended until June 30, 2021.
“Nagamit ‘yan,” he assured.
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.