|File photo of Senator Risa Hontiveros(Photo from: Senator Risa Hontiveros / Facebook / Manila Bulletin)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Filipino senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday flagged the government’s purchase of five million personal protective equipment (PPE) sets, from Chinese firms, which she said were allegedly overpriced by P1 billion.
In a statement, Hontiveros said seven of the 11 contracts for PPE sets were awarded to China-based companies by the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) from April to May this year. She said Philippine General Hospital had estimated that PPE sets range from P1,200-P1,500. The price of the PPE sets bought by the PS-DBM range from P1,700-P2,000. “Crucially, the one billion pesos could have also been allocated to increase the salaries of our health workers,” she added. Priced at 1,700 each, the cheapest PPE sets the DBM had procured from April to May were sourced from Philippine-based firm Hafid N’ Erasmus Corporation, according to the senator.
But she lamented that only 30,000 units were acquired from the said company while more PPE sets from foreign firms were bought.She also questioned why China-based companies were supposedly prioritized in the procurement of PPE sets. “DBM should explain these suspicious transactions. The Department of Health should also have exercised its mandate to inspect these procurements, especially since this is a vital aspect of our overall COVID-19 response,” Hontiveros said.(MUF/Inquirer PH)