Sen. Grace Poe questioned why the Department of Health (DOH) purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) sets at P1,800 each when market value was between P400 and P1,000. Opting for a cheaper price but of the same quality would have only cost the DOH about P400 million to 1 billion, generating P800 million in savings at the minimum.
“Confronting an extraordinary public health crisis requires prompt response but in doing so, let us not forget the need for the judicious use of fund releases,” said the senator, who strongly advocated for the protection and just compensation of health frontliners in the newly signed Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
On Monday, the DOH disclosed that it was awaiting the delivery of 1 million sets of PPE, which will be distributed to both public and private hospitals treating COVID-19 patients and people under investigation and under monitoring. It has P225 million left from the budget allocated for PPEs.
“Ang bawat piso na matitipid natin sa ganitong panahon ay maaari pa nating magamit sa iba pang mga programa ng gobyerno para makapagbigay ayuda sa ating mga kababayan na higit ring nangangailangan ng tulong tulad ng financial aid at pagkain pang araw-araw,” said Poe.
She also appealed to the DOH to ease the bureaucratic bottleneck and red tape in the distribution of personal protective equipment donations and other critical medical devices to hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 patients.
“More than two weeks into the enhanced quarantine, swift action and massive testing will help accelerate collaborative efforts to contain the pandemic, a valuable lesson we could learn from our Asian counterparts who have become successful in slowing down the spread of the disease,” said Poe.
Appealing for sense of urgency, she hoped that the DOH could further streamline its processes in making donated PPEs readily available to hospitals and frontliners in light of the increasing number of infections every day.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo at nagdadatingan na ang mga kagamitang mahalaga sa pagsugpo ng epidemiyang ito kaya sana ay maipamahagi ito sa mga ospital at ating mga health frontliners sa lalong madaling panahon,” said Poe.
“Subalit tulad ng pahayag ng Pangulo, hindi ito panahon ng pagsasamantala, kaya’t nananawagan tayo sa DOH na kung maaari ay iprayoridad ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga local manufacturers upang mas makakuha ng murang PPE,” she added.