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Bong Go denies manipulating distribution of donated PPEs

Senator Bong Go denied allegations that his office was involved in manipulating the release of donations for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, supposedly to grab credits and build his name for the 2022 elections.

"Claims circulating that I am involved in handling donations intended for the government are utterly false, deliberate disinformation, and black propaganda," Go said in a statement released on Wednesday night.

"Nais ko po klaruhin na wala po akong kinalaman sa operasyon at mandato ng OCD (Office of Civil Defense). Wala rin pong kinalaman ang opisina ko sa distribution ng government resources."

Go's statement was in response to several posts on social media which showed boxes of donated medical goods bearing his name. Some alleged that hospitals are being "raided" so that donated PPEs may be consolidated and distributed after being repackaged with attribution to the neophyte senator.

On March 31, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Administrative Order 27 which designates the OCD as the main coordinating body for all donations to the government intended for COVID-19 response.

The OCD must prepare an inventory of all the donations to the national government and the Department of Health, and coordinate with relevant agencies to connect with health facilities and beneficiary groups that are in need of medical goods.

Direct donations to agencies and state hospitals will still be allowed but these should be reported to the OCD.

Go said his office was just acting "as a bridge" to connect the donors from the private sector to those needing help.

"We help private donors who approach us in finding the right beneficiaries and vice versa. Kung baga, dagdag na tulong po ito mula sa mga 'Good Samaritans' natin sa pribadong sektor para sa mga kababayan natin na nangangailangan pa ng tulong bukod sa naibibigay ng gobyerno sa kanila," he said.

Further, Go clarified that medical goods are not are being distributed in Malasakit Centers.

"Wala pong PPEs o medical equipment na dinadala o pinapamigay sa Malasakit Centers. Wala rin po ditong pondo," he said.

Located in health facilities, Malasakit Centers are one-stop shops for all medical and financial assistance to indigent and poor patients, he added.

The former special assistant to Duterte, Go also dismissed speculations that he is being groomed to run for the presidency in the next national elections.

"Senador na ako -- at limang taon pa akong magsisilbing senador. Wala akong ambisyong tumakbo kaya huwag niyo na akong isali pa sa usaping politika sa 2022 dahil hindi ako interesado," he said. --KBK, GMA News