By Analou De Vera
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the Department of Health (DOH) placed an order for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPEs) “as early as February,” but its delivery was delayed because of a global shortage.
Duque made the pronouncement amid the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the DOH’s alleged irregularities in handling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
“Akala po ng ibang grupo ay napakahuli po ang ating pagbili ng mga personal protective equipment. Pero sa totoo lang po, as early as February, naglagay na po tayo ng order with the Philippine International Trading Corporation, isa pong attached agency ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) [Some groups thought that we are late in buying our personal protective equipment. But the truth is, as early as February, we already placed our order with the Philippine International Trading Corporation, an attached agency of DTI],” said Duque during President Duterte’s public address last Monday night.
Duque said that other countries had acted earlier in terms of ordering PPEs.
“Mr. President, talagang namroblema lang tayo sa supply kasi po at that time marami na pong mga ibang mga bansa na nauna po sa atin dahil nagkaroon po sila—nauna rin po sila nagkaroon ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 [Mr. President, we encountered a problem with the supply because at that time, many countries (had placed their order) ahead of us—since they had cases of COVID-19 earlier (than us)],” he said.
The PPEs that were ordered last February were delivered from March to April, said Duque.
“Maigi lang po may mga donations po tayong mga natanggap mula sa World Health Organization dahil tayo po naman ang kumatawan at humingi ng tulong sa World Health Organization habang hindi pa dumadating yung atin pong mga inorder na mga personal protective equipment [The good thing is that we received donations from the World Health Organization because I represented (the country) and sought the help of the World Health Organization— while our orders had not arrived yet at that time],” he said.