The Department of Health (DOH) has already submitted to Senator Manny Pacquiao its budget utilization report following the lawmaker’s corruption allegation against the department.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that out of the P45.7 billion that the DOH received under Bayanihan 1, P44.7 billion or 98 percent was already obligated.
Of the figure, the Health chief said that P41.8 billion or 93 percent was already disbursed. This leaves a balance for allotment of P975 million.
“Lahat itong mga report na ito, pinadala ko na kagabi kay Senator Manny Pacquiao (All these reports, I already sent last night to Senator Manny Pacquiao),” Duque said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday, July 1.
“It’s unfortunate that during the eight-hour marathon hearing last June 14 about the budget required for the national vaccination program against COVID, wala namang naitanong ni isa tungkol doon sa budget (no one asked about that budget),” he added.
Duque said that 87 percent or P15 billion out of the P17.2 billion that the agency has received under Bayanihan 2 was already obligated. He said P10.67 billion or 71 percent of which was already disbursed, leaving a balance for allotment of P2.2 billion.
The DOH chief also denied that the Health department has procured rapid test kits.
“Yung sinabi rin ni Senator Manny na bumili daw ang DOH ng rapid test kits, hindi totoo ‘yan. Hindi kami gumagamit at bumibili ng rapid test kits (Senator Manny also said that the DOH bought rapid test kits, that is not true. We do not use and purchase rapid test kits),” he said.
“Ang binibili natin (What we procure) is still the gold standard RT-PCR test kits and personal protective equipment, face masks, and other supplies,” he added.
The boxing icon turned politician has earlier named the DOH as one of the most corrupt government agencies in the Duterte administration.
In response, the DOH said it has “always been transparent and cooperative to auditing efforts within the government.”
“While we are disheartened by these baseless accusations from our government officials, we submit ourselves to inquiries from legislators as this is a part of the checks and balances in our government,” Duque said in a statement.
“I have always been a champion of good governance and the DOH has always been transparent with regard to our fund utilization,” he added.
Pacquiao’s revelation was in response to President Duterte’s challenge to name government agencies involved in corruption.
“I already sent the documents last night as I have committed,” Duque said.
“So if there is any [Senate] hearing, we will be very glad to be there and to show a full accounting of all the funds or budget that have been allocated to the DOH,” he added.