MANILA - National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. on Wednesday denied irregularities in the government’s procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets worth P20 billion.
In a statement, Galvez assured the public that the purchase of medical supplies against COVID-19 “had undergone a very rigid procurement process” for the protection of frontline workers.
“As President Rodrigo Duterte has time and again emphasized, he will not tolerate any anomalous transactions in government. We, in the NTF, will make sure that the President’s directives are fully implemented as we continue to fight this disease,” he said.
Galvez made the remark in response to a story published by news website Rappler and an editorial from national broadsheet Inquirer over the government’s ongoing procurement of PPE sets.
He was quoted in the Rappler story during an interview in Davao City that the government would purchase 3 million PPE sets worth P20 billion.
“The procurement for another three million PPE sets worth P20 billion is ongoing and this will cover June to August. We are stockpiling on PPE sets because this COVID-19 might last until 2021,” he had said.
Meanwhile, the Inquirer opinion piece questioned the purchase, saying it could be a rip-off due to “a staggering P6,667 [price] each per PPE.” The Department of Health (DOH) earlier bought PPE sets for P1,800 each.
Galvez criticized the articles as “malicious and an inaccurate portrayal of my original statement.”
“Not only was I misquoted, but the said articles also cast a cloud of doubt not only on the integrity of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 but on government as a whole,” he said.
Galvez, also the presidential adviser on peace process, said the P20 billion fund he mentioned was for the purchase of 11 million PPE sets, which will be sourced from international manufacturers and local producers.
He warned Rappler and the Inquirer to “put things in their proper context” or he would take legal action against the media outfits.