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Duque vows no amount of COVID-19 funds will be transferred to PS-DBM


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The Department of Health on Thursday committed that it would no longer transfer funds to the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management for the purchase of COVID-19 supplies.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III made the commitment during the budget deliberations at the House committee on appropriations.

He noted that the agency would do its own bidding for COVID-19 supplies such as personal protective equipment and other medical items.

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez pressed Duque chief if the DOH is committed that it will no longer transfer a portion of its P19.68 billion COVID-19 funds to the PS-DBM.

"Yes, your honor, we will do that," Duque responded.

"The situation has changed in the sense that we can now do the bids and awards, we have our own committee and we will be able to maximize this capacity. Although still limited because the work of our officials as members of the bids and awards committee is an added work," Duque added.

A total of P242.22 billion is being proposed for the DOH in fiscal year 2022. A huge chunk of this amount, worth P78.83 billion, is allotted for COVID-19 initiatives and programs related to the Universal Health Care law.

The agency's COVID-19 initiatives or health system resilience projects are proposed to be allocated P19.68 billion.

The DOH has been flagged over its transfer of at least P42 billion to the PS-DBM for the procurement of COVID-19 supplies. The matter was also pointed out by the Commission on Audit in its 2020 audit report.

Lawmakers pointed out that the PS-DBM had procured "overpriced" face masks at P27.22 each and face shields priced at P120 each. — RSJ, GMA News

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