MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday disclosed 11 contracts allegedly showing that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) procured overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) in the second quarter of 2020.
The Department of Health (DOH) released a circular that places a P945 cap on PPE sets sold from March 23 to April 13, 2020.
The DBM bought PPEs between P1,700 and P1,980, Hontiveros said in a statement.
"Of the 11 contracts, three of these are in the same time period as DOH's price freeze," she said.
"Almost P1,000 lang dapat ang cost ng isang PPE set kung sa local companies binili. But no, DBM opted to transact with Chinese firms," she added.
Of the 11 companies that signed contracts for PPE procurement with DBM, only 4 are run by local manufacturers, the senator said.
Hontiveros said Filipino PPE producers have been capable of producing as many as 2 million face masks monthly as early as February.
The senator said she would raise the issue again when the DBM's budget is tackled in the Senate plenary.
"We have so many questions for the DBM, and again, we do need answers to better inform our budget deliberations in the Senate," she said.
"DBM should plainly explain these contracts," she said.