By Analou De Vera
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that past and present officials of the department will be held liable over the alleged irregularities on the Barangay Health Stations project worth P8.1 billion.
“Past and present official ay kailangan panagutin, of course dadaan yan sa due process para wala naman silang pwedeng sabihin na parang kinaladkad na lamang sila,” Duque said on a radio interview on Tuesday.
“Ang COA (Commission on Audit) investigation output or result iyon ang titingnan natin at susuriin maigi kung magiging sapat ito bilang basehan sa pagsampa ng reklamo o kaso at iyon ang gagawin namin,” he added.
The health secretary admitted that the project is laudable but the problem lies in the planning.
“Magandang maganda talaga ang hangarin nito. Ang naging problema ay yung planning,” Duque said.
“Maganda yung konsepto, maganda yung pakay, kasi gusto nga natin ipaabot sa ating mga barangay na pwede silang makakuha ng serbisyong pangkalusugan, kahit hindi malubha ang kanilang karamdaman ay pwede silang mabenipisyuhan doon sa mga health promotion programs, disease prevention, immunization at iba pang pangunahing gamot para sa mga simpleng mga sintomas,” he said.
Duque said that there were only 270 barangay health stations (BHS) that have possibly been completed out of the 429 reported BHS that were said to have already been completed.
“From 429, nag imbestiga kami. Lumalabas na 270 daw ang posibleng natapos,” he said.
Duque said that the task force that he created last April recommended not to pay the contractor because only eight units have complete supporting documents.
“Ang last recommendation ng task force na aking binuo nung Abril, ang sinasabi ay huwag bayaran sapagkat merong walo lang ang may kumpletong dokumento,” he said.
“Nagtaka kami dahil unang-una pinababayaran sa amin itong 429 na diumanong natapos na barangay health stations tapos noong bumaba yung dokumento sa accounting and finance ng DOH nakita nila na ang daming kulang na supporting documents kaya hindi talaga pwedeng bayaran,” Duque said.
The health secretary said there is no certificate of completion, ceritificate of site inspection, and pictures during and after the construction.
Duque said that they called the regional directors in order to validate the completion of the 429 barangay health stations.
“Ang lumalabas sabi ng mga ibang regional directors ay wala naman daw silang inissue na certificate of completion at kung meron daw mga lagda o signatures mukhang forged daw,” the health secretary said.
Duque said that project aims to address the lack of health facilities in the 58 percent of barangays nationwide.
“Napag-alaman ng DOH na 42 percent lang ng lahat ng mga barangay sa Pilipinas ay may health stations, so, may 58 percent na kailangan pang punuin yung puwang. So ito ang naging tamang solusyon pero yung pag plaplano nila ay mukhang minadali nanaman,” he said.
He said that the project was “done in haste” because the previous officials of the department entered in the second phase while the list of sites in the project’s first phase has not yet been completely validated.
“Yung mismong kontratista ang nagsasabi yun daw pagtatayuan na 3,200 ay kanilang sinabi na meron daw 731 na mga sites na ineligible and unworkable sites,” he said.
“Alam naman pala nila na may kulang na mga pagtatayuang lugar eh pumasok nanaman sa pangalawang kontrata ito naman yung 2,500 sites. Bakit pumasok sa pangalawang kontrata eh hindi pa nga nabubuo yung phase one,” he added.
Last Monday, June 18, Duque said that he has already sent a formal request to the COA to conduct a fraud audit regarding the BHS project.
He also added that “other controversies are hounding the department” saying that he has ordered a “meticulous review of all transactions entered into by the previous administrations.”