MANILA - Overpriced personal protective equipment procured by the budget department are being sold to local governments instead of being distributed for free, Senator Imee Marcos said Thursday.
The Department of Health had transferred some P42 billion to the procurement service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) for the purchase of overpriced PPEs, Senator Franklin Drilon earlier said.
The funds transferred to DBM should be returned to DOH upon the award of contract, Marcos said.
"What I find so strange is that this equipment bidded out by DBM-PS turned over to DOH is being sold and LGUs who are not receiving the PPEs for free are being compelled to buy, which is the reason why there are so much of it still in the bodega because no one wants to take it. It’s just too expensive," she told ANC's Headstart.
"If you ask governors, and they testified, as well as city mayors, they said they had to pay...I’m praying I’m completely wrong and I misunderstood."
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee summoned Wednesday former head of PS-DBM Undersecretary Christopher Lao to its second hearing into DOH's alleged mismanagement of funds.
It was under Lao's leadership that the PS-DBM procured "substandard" PPEs from China instead of high-quality ones from local manufacturers, Marcos said.
Lao and other officials were "axed" by former Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado upon taking office, Marcos said.
"We’re very fully aware that Secretary Avisado was unhappy with these people and axed them upon sitting," she said.
Marcos, meantime, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque "ought" to resign after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would accept his resignation.
"I think the President has said that very loud and clear and it’s important he take heed from his boss," she said.