No mafia, missing fund in DOH – officials
Two incumbent officials of the Department of Health (DOH) showed up at a Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing on Wednesday to belie allegations that there was a “mafia” in the agency and that there was a “missing” fund intended for anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
The two health officials – Undersecretary Carol Taino and Director Larry Cruz – were presented before the Commission during the confirmation hearing of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
“Was there a P550 million conversion? We categorically say that there’s no mafia in the Department of Health nor any conversion of the P550 million,” Taino told the CA.
Taino explained that the DOH had submitted two requests to the Department of Budget and Management totaling P4.5 billion – P1.4 billion for payment of various creditors and P3.1 billion for the DOH vaccines – and for the operations of the agency’s central office.
Of the amount, she said, P3 billon was issued to the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) for the dengue vaccine, which was later identified as Dengvaxia.
“If you’ll notice, it’s only P3 billion because that’s the commensurate in the bidding done by the PCMC for the Dengvaxia. Nagkapangalan na po. Pero before it’s only a generic dengue vaccine,” Taino said.
“So for the undisbursed fund, P556 million was not converted and remain outstanding and undisbursed in the Department of Health in favor of the PCMC.”
“Yes po nandun pa po ang pera, naka open obligation po ‘yan in favor of PCMC,” she also pointed out.
The P1.6 billion worth of unused Dengvaxia, however, was received by the DOH and deposited to the Bureau of Treasury.
“So with that short presentation, I hope that the issue on the alleged conversion and the missing fund will be be put to stop na po dahil marami na din pong mga taong ini-involve nila dito sa alleged mafia na sana naman po kung hiningi nila sa amin ang data, open naman po ang mga documents sa Department of Health,” Taino said.
Cruz echoed his colleague’s denial, saying that “there’s no such mafia.”
“Wala pong katotohanan na pinagpartihan namin ‘yung pera because it’s still intact in the DOH,” he said of the alleged P550 million missing fund.
Before this, Duque reiterated that there was no evidence to support the alleged existence of mafia in the DOH.
“I see no evidence nor documents that would point to the existence of a mafia in the DOH your honors,” he told the Commission responding to queries of Senator Gringo Honasan. /kga
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