The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has denied overpricing in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) as alleged by Senator Risa Hontiveros since the agency ensures transparency in their processes.
In a statement Tuesday night, the agency said all the documents for the PPE acquisition “are evident” since “all notices of award of the PS-DBM (procurement service-DBM) have been made public.”
“Our office operates with utmost transparency and we have cooperated for any request of inquiry. However, we are distressed as this issue on PPE procurement has become political in nature. Our interest is transparency and not politics,” it said.
The statement was issued after Hontiveros, in a press release, alleged that DBM procured overpriced PPE last April and May based on the 11 contracts the agency has entered.
She said DBM tapped four local firms to supply PPE but there are seven Chinese-owned companies that the government selected and whose products are more expensive than the locally-produced ones.
The price of the PPE sets ranges between PHP1,700 and PHP2,000.
Hontiveros said tapping local companies for the PPE supply is cheaper since the government implemented a price freeze from March 23 until April 13, which prevented companies from jacking up their prices.
“This price freeze meant that the eight components of procured PPE sets could only cost a maximum total of PHP945,” she added.
The DBM said it has sent a letter to Hontiveros’ office “to furnish us a copy of the basis for her supposed findings of overpricing” but has not received a reply.
“It has been often said that reiteration of a baseless allegation does not make it legitimate, it only makes the allegation absurd and nonsensical,” it said, adding the “PS-DBM stand by our previous expression of facts.” (PNA)