Duterte: Gov’t spent P40.36B on protective gear, test kits, COVID response

The Department of Health (DOH) has so far utilized P40.36 billion for its purchase of protective gear and test kits and implementation of other programs related to the coronavirus response, President Duterte said in his latest report to Congress.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The latest budget utilization is 78.50 percent of the P51.43 billion DOH-managed funds for COVID-19 health response, according to the President.

As of June 22, the bulk of the DOH funds for coronavirus efforts went to “case management related commodities” such as personal protective equipment sets, masks, and medications at P23.24 billion.

The health department also spent P15.05 billion for the procurement of test kits and laboratory commodities and another P1.4 billion for equipment and infrastructure. Other DOH expenses are augmentation for operating expenses, P616 million; compensation for health workers, P21.8 million; and human resource for health, P31 million.

“A bulk of this comes from the supplemental budget of P45.72 billion (89.00%), while PhP5.7 billion (11.00%) is from other Health Response Budget funds, such as cash donation, quick response fund and calamity fund, and continuing appropriation and saving,” the President said.

As of June 29, around 36,438 people have been infected by the coronavirus in the country. At least 9,956 people have recovered, while 1,255 died due to the illness.

Healthcare resources and supplies

In the same report to Congress, the President provided updates on the delivery of PPE sets and other equipment bought by the government.

As of June 25, 2,069,760 of the 6,062,019 PPE sets bought by the DOH have been delivered. Another 2.45 million PPE sets are expected to be delivered in June.

On the procurement of nine different types of polymerase chain reaction (PCRT) test kits worth P1.6 billion, around 13,439 test kits or 45.08 percent have been delivered while the rest will be delivered by July.

The second tranche of PCR test kits worth P2.5 billion for eight different types are awaiting delivery. The third batch of test kits worth P6.9 billion for 10 different types are in different stages of procurement.

Duterte said five out of the 10 Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction Machines bought by the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for P400 million have been delivered. The remaining units are expected to be delivered this week.

At least 1,000 units of technical ventilators worth P946,400 each will be delivered from July, 2020, to March, 2021.

Health workers, testing efforts, contact tracers

The President said the government has hired 4,045 health workers out of the 8,553 slots available for immediate hiring in 286 hospitals, quarantine centers, and other similar facilities.

As of June 25, the government has a total of 13,909 beds dedicated for COVID-19 patients with an average of 37.43 percent occupancy rate nationwide. At least 80.4 percent of the 2,058 mechanical ventilators are available.

The country has also conducted 647,804 tests on 596,058 individuals as of June 24. The average daily tests is 14,694 from June 18 to 24.

The President said the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity “steadily increases, citing the accreditation of 68 active testing laboratories in the country so far. The health department continues to evaluate the application of 164 laboratories.

He said government personnel who will volunteer to be deployed in mega swabbing facilities will be given a duty allowance of P500 per day plus a maximum of 25 percent of monthly basic salary per person.

A total of 3,612 contact tracing teams composed of 54,183 have been formed across the country. These teams have traced and assessed 118,318 close contacts and 113,254 general contacts.

Clinical trials

The President said 361 patients from 26 hospitals are participating in the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trials implemented by the National Institute of Health-University of the Philippines Manila.

The clinical studies aim to assess and provide reliable estimates on any effects of repurposed antivirals on in-hospital mortality, hospital duration, and receipt of ventilation or intensive care in moderate and severe COVID-19 cases. The Department of Science and Technology has approved the grant of P29.99 million for the one-year project.