MANILA - Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing and Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing Jr. have filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into the allegedly anomalous construction of public school-based Barangay Health Stations (BHS).
Speaking to radio DZMM Sunday, House committee on health chairperson Angelina Tan said the Department of Health (DOH) in 2015 approved a P7-billion contract for building 5,000 BHS.
Congressmen, however, discovered in a recent budget hearing that only P1.5 million is needed per BHS unit, or around P4.8 billion for the whole project.
Tan added that the previous DOH administration tapped the services of only one China-based construction firm, which is incapable of completing the project swiftly given logistical constraints.
"Imagine niyo nga po kung paano magawa ng iisang contractor considering 'yung geographical location ng each barangay," the congresswoman pointed out, adding that only 10 percent of the BHS has been completed so far.
Congressmen should also investigate if the General Appropriations Act was violated when DOH headed the project instead of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Tan said.
"'Pag repairs and rehab, usually DepEd (Department of Education) [ang nag-iimplement niyan], DOH kung iyan ay hospitals. Pero 'pag construction, usually DPWH ang nag-i-implement" she explained.
(Building repairs and rehabilitation are usually implemented by DepEd, DOH heads the project if it covers hospitals. But the construction itself of the building is usually implemented by the DPWH.)
Tan added that the BHS project was poorly planned, as evident in the failure of proponents to determine where most of the health stations would be built.
"Karamihan walang buildable space. Ibig sabihin po iyung nag-propose ng project, hindi siya well planned kasi unang-una, tanungin mo muna, may space bang pagtatayuan ang paaralan," she said.
The barangay health stations to be known as Philhealth TSEKAP (Tamang Serbisyo para sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya)-accredited BHS will cater mostly to the poor and vulnerable sector in each barangay, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Citing recent DOH Health Facility Inventory, DILG also showed that only 17,904 or 43% of the 42,036 barangays nationwide have existing BHS. DepEd data likewise shows that 40% of their reviewed elementary schools do not have BHS in the barangay.
House Resolution 360, which seeks to investigate the project, was scheduled for discussion in January.