The Department of Health (DOH) said that it is currently addressing the “deficiencies” reported by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding its handling of funds worth P67.3 billion for the country’s response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The flagged issues are being addressed by the DOH. Rest assured, that the funds allotted to the DOH are all spent for the procurement of test kits, PPEs (personal protective equipment), payment of HCWs (healthcare workers) benefits, salaries of HRH (human resource for health), among others,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement.
The DOH assured that the amount flagged by COA is “accounted for.”
“The P67.3 billion is accounted for. Wala pong kinurakot, inilaan natin ang mga pondong ito para sa ating mga kababayan (There was no corruption, we have allocated these funds for our countrymen),” said Duque.
Out of the P79.7 billion COVID-19 fund it received, P68.9 billion “was utilized as of December 31, 2020 for the COVID-19 response of the government,” the DOH said.
“Moreover, with the enactment of RA No. 11519 extending the availability of appropriations under Bayanihan II, the Department was still able to utilize the unobligated balance for this year,” the DOH said.
In a separate statement, the DOH said the amount flagged by the COA are “compliance issues, procedural and documentary deficiencies which are currently being addressed by management of DOH.”
The DOH said it “has always been transparent and cooperative to yearly auditing efforts within the government,” adding that it “has always complied with the recommendations of the COA.”
“Bukas po ang aming tanggapan at handa po kaming ipakita sa ating mga kababayan na tama ang paggastos ng kanilang mga taxes (Our office is open and we are ready to show to our citizens that their taxes were being spent correctly),” said Duque.
“We take our COA findings very seriously and have been working to further improve our processes and controls so that we can serve the public most effectively especially during this pandemic,” he added.