SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
15 September 2021 07:00:13 PM
The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability chaired by Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay (Party-list, DIWA) on Wednesday, continued its motu proprio inquiry into the report of the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding the alleged overpriced medical and health equipment procured by the Department of Health (DOH) for COVID-19 response through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM). Aglipay said that the panel is determined at finding ways for the government to improve and be more efficient in serving the Filipino people. At the onset, he asked the COA if the involved agencies violated Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act and other related laws, to which COA Chairperson Michael Aguinaldo replied that Bayanihan I exempts from these laws the purchase of COVID-19 related equipment. Aguinaldo added that the DBM still adhered to the emergency procurement provision of RA 9184, even when the agency did not need to be systematic and ensure proper accountability. Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Lliong, former PS-DBM Director, also countered allegations of overpricing and corruption saying that they awarded the contracts to the manufacturers who could supply the necessary items at the cheapest price and at the soonest possible time. These manufacturers must likewise be compliant to the technical specifications required by the DOH. Lliong then bared that the PS-DBM released the payment to the suppliers only after the face masks and personal protective equipment were delivered, inspected, and accepted. He also assured that the PS-DBM was not instructed by the Office of the President and Senator Bong Go to favor any supplier, as well as explained that Pharmally, which was granted contracts amounting to P8.8-billion, was a company that had a ready supply of 500,000 face masks. For his part, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III vowed that the DOH is committed to address the issues at hand, ensuring transparency and hard work in the government. The committee’s investigation is suspended until September 20, 2021, Monday, at 11am.