MAYNILA— More local jobs could have been generated if government had procured personal protective equipment from Filipino firms instead of a foreign company such as Pharmally, a senator said Thursday.
"Ang alam ko eh dapat sana madagdagan ng 25,000 trabahante na magkakaroon ng trabaho sa atin pero hindi nangyari 'yun," Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan told TeleRadyo Thursday.
"Ang nangyari pa, nagtanggal pa ng halos 4,000 empleyado na nawalan ng trabaho."
(As far as I know we could have employed 25,000 workers if that happened. What happened was almost 4,000 even lost their jobs.)
Pangilinan said the Senate would continue its investigation into government's medical supplies deal with Pharmally.
By the end of 2020, the first year of the pandemic, 85 percent of government's contracts for medical supplies had gone to foreign firms, including Pharmally. Only 15 percent went to local producers, Pangilinan said.
"Talagang inuna, priority, ewan ko 'di ba? Siguro dahil nga dun sa kickback 'di ba?" he said.
(They really gave priority to Pharmally, I don't get it right? Maybe because of the kickback right?)
"Priority 'yung mga foreigner t'saka overpriced tapos 'yung ating mga negosyante na tumaya, nalugi pa. Eh talagang hindi ito tama at dapat may mananagot dito," dagdag nito.
(Foreigners are priority and the items are overpriced, while our businessmen who invested, they even lost money. This is not right and someone should answer for this.)
He also noted how it seemed the Duterte administration was even defending the contract instead of having it investigated, despite its rhetoric against corruption.
"Kami nga ay nagtataka bakit panay ang depensa ng Malacañang dito sa mga, ang biro nga eh, ano ba ito? Ito ba ang Michael Yang Palace? Bakit panay ang depensa kay Michael Yang? Kung galit sa corruption, bakit kami ang pinupuntirya?" he said, referring to the former Duterte adviser linked to Pharmally.
(We are wondering why Malacañang keeps on defending... the joke is, is it now the Michael Yang Palace? Why do they keep defending Michael Yang? If you're mad at corruption, then why target us?)
Government has denied allegations the local suppliers of PPEs and face masks were sidelined to give priority to foreign firms.
The Senate is set to issue an arrest warrant against Yang for failure to heed summons to its hearings on the Pharmally deal.