The government is streamlining the donation process for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response to ensure that intended health facilities and beneficiaries receive them on time, Malacañang said on Thursday.
This came after President Rodrigo Duterte, through Administrative Order (AO) 27 signed on March 31, tapped the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) as the main coordinating body for donated medical supplies and equipment.
“It is meant to streamline the process of donations to the national government in order that health items may timely reach the intended facilities and beneficiaries,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press statement, referring to the issuance of AO 27.
Panelo said Duterte gave the task to the OCD, considering that the Department of Health (DOH) is “overwhelmed” with its work concerning issues related to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
He said the OCD was ordered to consolidate, make an inventory of, allocate, and distribute donated supplies to help the DOH focus on its work, given the latter’s limited personnel and access to transport vehicles.
The OCD would be assisted by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and his department to deliver the donations to all the hospitals ”in the shortest possible time,” Panelo said.
He said the Bureau of Customs is likewise doubling its efforts to expedite the entry of donated items.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Administrative Order No. 27 for the orderly and swift distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and equipment to hospitals, other beneficiary facilities, groups, and establishments,” Panelo said.
In a virtual press conference aired on state-run PTV-4, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the breakdown of donations received by the government would be included in Duterte’s weekly report that will be transmitted to Congress on April 6.
AO 27 establishes a framework for the acceptance, management, distribution, and delivery of all medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and other health products donated to the Philippines to address the Covid-19 outbreak.
Panelo said the national government is not dissuading private organizations and individuals from giving donations to their preferred hospitals or local government units.
“They are in fact encouraged as every help from all sectors (is) welcome. Administrative Order No. 27 does not prohibit nor discourage such acts,” he said.
Nograles also said proposals, including the possible waiving of donor’s tax, are welcome to encourage more private groups and individuals to donate medical equipment.
“Anything that will help us solicit more donations and anything that can entice donors to donate more, then I am for it,” he said.
To date, the Philippines has 2,311 confirmed cases of Covid-19. (PNA)