Price controls, ease of gov’t purchases provided for in Duterte’s public health emergency EO

Published March 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling 

The government may control the prices of basic goods as well as buy medical equipment without passing the bidding process under a declaration of public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, a Palace official said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after confirming that President Duterte has signed an executive order placing the country under a public health emergency.

“Napirmahan niya. Napirmahan na, ine-release na namin iyong executive order (He has signed it. We will release the executive order),” Panelo said in a radio interview.

“Ibig sabihin, mayroon tayong emergency sa punto ng kalusugan at dineklara ng Presidente iyon. Ibig sabihin magkakaroon tayo ng kapangyarihan na galawin mo halimbawa ang presyo ng mga bilihin. (It means we have a emergency on public health and the president declared it so we will have the power to control the prices of goods),” he said.

“Number two, pati iyong mga pagbibili ng mga items, hindi na tayo dadaan sa mga bidding. Halimbawa, kailangan natin ng mga medical equipment para ma-contain natin ang… gaya sa mga testing centers, kailangan mga ibang klaseng makina ang binibili diyan, that’s another, iyon (Number one, we will pass through bidding in the purchase of items. For example, we need medical equipment to contain, like testing centers, machines needed for that, that’s another),” he added.

He assured the public that the government would not tolerate any corruption in the acquisition of these health-related equipment. “Alam naman natin si Presidente, ibang klaseng Presidente ito, hindi uubra sa kanya iyong mga ganyan. (We know the President, we have a different kind of President. He won’t tolerate that),” he added.

Panelo said the executive order on the public health emergency will be released to the public within the day.

“Hindi ko pa nakita iyong eksaktong executive order (I have not seen the executive order) but I have been informed na it would be released today,” he said.

Last Saturday, President Duterte approved the recommendation of the Department of Health to declare a state of public health emergency following reports of additional coronavirus cases.

Panelo said the President “has agreed to issue such declaration after considering all critical factors with the aim of safeguarding the health of the Filipino public.” He noted that the President has been in constant communication with the health department and other key government agencies since the coronavirus reached the country.

As of Sunday, the country has reported four new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to 10.

Malacañang has appealed anew to the public to remain calm yet vigilant amid efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“We similarly call upon the cooperation of the Filipino people during this health crisis to exercise utmost prudence and exercise judiciousness as we expect all responsible agencies to continue exhausting all possible measures within their mandate to secure the general welfare of the citizenry,” Panelo said.