Recto demands details on DOH purchase of P819-M PPEs in 2022

Published August 31, 2021, 2:06 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Tuesday, August 31, asked the Department of Health (DOH) to disclose the details of its plan to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) worth P819 million next year.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto (Henzberg Austria/Senate PRIB)

The DOH has requested the amount under the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the executive department to Congress, Recto disclosed.

According to the Senate leader, the allocation would be for the purchase of 758,700 sets of PPE at an average cost of P1,079 each. He said he wanted to know from the DOH the specifications of the PPEs to be bought.

“Make public the details. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Recto told the DOH, adding that the disclosure would also “draw as many interested parties as possible.”

Recto also appealed to the DOH to “shun the trend” of passing the funds to the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS) or the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) to do the purchase.

Senators have been calling out the delays in government procurement as funds supposedly remain “parked” for years in the DBM-PS and PITC.

Currently, the Senate Blue Ribbon is investigating the transfer of some P42 billion from the DOH and DBM-PS for the purchase of PPEs and other supplies for COVID-19 response.

Like his colleagues, Recto said the DOH should handle the procurements since it has the expertise to vet the quality of such medical supplies.

“Asking [DBM-]PS and PITC to buy is like asking a clueless male to buy the best woman’s bra,” Recto said.

“Kung ipa-pasa-buy mo sa dalawa, baka walang nang COVID, hindi pa nabi-bid (If you will pass the procurement to the two agencies, bidding might again delayed until the COVID-19 pandemic has already ended),” he added.

At the same time, Recto urged government to buy from Filipino producers of world-class medical-grade coveralls, masks and other PPE, “instead of some sweatshop from abroad cornering the contract.”

“There is a capable and competent local PPE manufacturing sector whose products, if patronized by their own government, will save jobs and save lives,” Recto pointed out.