Senate Questions DOH Purchase Of “Overpriced” Face Shields, Masks Worth P42.4 Billion
OVERPRICED FACE SHIELDS, MASKS PROBED – The Department of Health (DOH) has faced another issue regarding its COVID-19 funds.
During a Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, Senator Franklin Drilon questioned the DOH regarding its procurement of P42.4 billion worth of face masks and shields. According to an article from CNN, the purchase was made by the Department of Budget and Management’s procurement services.
However, the issue the Senators had with the procurement was the “overpriced” cost of the said items. As per the article, a single face mask was worth P27.72. Meanwhile, each face shield was worth P120.
Senator Imee Marcos during the investigation, stressed that even with tight supplies, the items were still “overpriced”. However, according to the DOH, during the time of purchase, there was no retail price approved yet for the items.
Furthermore, he explained that when the items were bought, they were at a “reasonable price”. Meanwhile, Drilon was not satisfied with the answer. He stated how the prices were still bought at a “very suspicious rate”.
As such, Drilon presented a memorandum order released by the DOH stating the SRP for these items be priced at P2-P4 per face mask and P26-P50 for each face shield. “Ang laki naman po ng deperensya, ang laki ng overpricing“, Drilon added.
Interestingly, Drilong, during the probe, unveiled that it was Tina Rose Canda, who was in-charge of the DMS’s purchase of the items. Moreover, Canda was the former Undersecretary of Christopher Lloyd Lao, who resigned from the DBM two months ago.
“I just knew at the time that it was all from China because we had a meeting on it and if I recall“, she said. Additionally, she noted that during the time of purchase, a limited local supply caused prices to rocket.
But, according to Senator Richard Gordon, the Philippine Red Cross, at the same time, bought the same items at P5 per face mask and only P15 per face shield. Due to this, Gordon requested a submission of all transactions involving Lao.