MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday justified spending P11.89 million for video conferencing equipment last year, saying the money was used to buy machines for telemedicine.
The DOH bought 31 units of Cisco Webex DX80 computers that are bundled with a year-long Webex subscription for these units, said Dir. Eric Tayag, head of the agency's Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service.
"Parang maliit na monitor po 'yun. Touch screen po yun... Hindi po ito laptop," he told the House Committee on Public Accounts.
"Naka-bundle po yung license at naisagawa sa public bidding," he said.
According to the CISCO website, each DX80 unit costs about $2,390 (around P120,000). Thirty-one units would cost about P3.7 million.
Tayag said the units were more expensive as the cost was based on the lowest bid available.
"Hindi po ito based sa lowest price pero sa lowest calculated bid o 'yung kakayahan ng supplier o ng proponent na ito ay maideliver ayon sa specifications," he said.
(We did not based the cost on the lowest price but on the lowest calculated bid or the ability of the supplier or proponent to deliver these based on our specifications.)
The DOH will give 10 units each to 3 hospitals, Tayag said, without disclosing which health facilities were picked.
"Maglalagay sa emergency room, sa pharmacy, sa laboratory, sa x-ray room," he said.
(We will place units in the emergency roon, in the pharmacy, in the laboratory and in x-ray rooms.)
"Ang idea dito ay mabawasan contact ng health workers sa mga pasyente. Makakabawas po yan sa mga gagamitin nilang PPE," he said.
(The idea is to reduce the contact of health workers with patients. This will also reduce the consumption of PPEs.)
The DOH did not say if it has already delivered all computers to the 3 unnamed hospitals.
The same DOH department earlier canceled its planned procurement of 4 units of laptops amounting to P700,000 after it drew ire on social media.
Tayag earlier said that the laptops could have been an "upgrade" for their computer system for their data analysis.
The purchase of the laptops were canceled because the money was realigned to the budget of a Baguio hospital that needed the funds.