Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday questioned the P1.8 billion the Department of Health set aside for the purchase of one million personal protective equipment for frontliners in the war against COVID-19.
Poe said the one million sets of protective gear would be of great help to the front line workers risking their lives to serve the public amid the health emergency but asked the DOH to explain the cost
In a statement, Poe pointed out that the market value of each PPE set ranged from only P400 to P1,000. She said that the government could have saved at least P800 million if the DOH did not opt for sets amounting to P1,800 each.
“Confronting an extraordinary public health crisis requires prompt response but in doing so, let us not forget the need for the judicious use of fund releases,” Poe said.
“Ang bawat piso na matitipid natin sa ganitong panahon ay maaari pa nating magamit sa iba pang mga programa ng gobyerno para makapagbigay ayuda sa ating mga kababayan na higit ring nangangailangan ng tulong tulad ng financial aid at pagkain pang araw-araw," she added.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, each PPE set includes head gear, goggles, N95 mask, gloves, apron, and a gown.
These shall be distributed to different hospitals in the country that are running out of stocks of PPEs due to the surge in the number of COVID-19 patients.
Poe asked the DOH to find more ways to save government funds.
"Tulad ng pahayag ng Pangulo, hindi ito panahon ng pagsasamantala, kaya’t nananawagan tayo sa DOH na kung maaari ay iprayoridad ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga local manufacturer upang mas makakuha ng murang PPE,” she said.
At a news conference, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire defended the P1.8-billion cost of the one million sets of personal protective equipment it bought.
She said the purchase went through the government procurement process prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management.
"Sinsabi lang natin di pare pareho ang ppes na binibli ng ibat ibang grupo at binibili ng DOH.Binibili namin ay mga sets na iba-iba para sa amign facilities," Vergeire said, adding that a set for the emergency room was different for the traige area.
"Ang set na prinocure namin ay pinakumpleto. Ibig sabihin meron tayong walo na PPE types sa loob nitong sets na siansabi natin," she added. -NB, GMA News