'Wala pong nawala': DOH spox reiterates all COVID-19 funds accounted for

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2021 07:11 PM

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MANILA – No funds allotted for the country's COVID-19 response are missing, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday as the agency continues to be hounded by controversy over its alleged "mismanagement" of state resources.

“All the money are here. Wala pong nawala. Wala pong na-waste. We are just trying to complete our processes,” Vergeire told ANC’s “Dateline Philippines.”

The DOH did not comply with existing laws and regulations in managing some P67.323 billion in COVID-19 response funds, the Commission on Audit said in a report last week.

Vergeire appealed to the public for consideration as she said many of the department’s reporting units are “multitasking” amid the pandemic. 

“We are under in this situation, it’s a pandemic, and everything is moving at a very fast pace. We have a lot of work. And we are doing multitasking, caring for the sick and everything, managing the response. And hopefully, there are some forms of consideration,” she said.

“I don’t think we are giving excuses. We are giving explanations and clarifications so that people will understand and people will get a better grasp of what’s happening,” she added.

Vergeire said funds for the allowance of health workers have been downloaded to the specific units tasked with distributing them.

Health workers may not have received their allowances yet because of bottlenecks in some hospitals, she said.

“There is also that bottleneck sa mga recipients, like the hospitals. If they can also facilitate and be able to align with whatever policies that we have, because sometimes they also submit lists that there are healthcare workers not eligible, so we still need to redo and reevaluate these kind of things,” she explained.

Vergeire said the DOH did not raise an issue about due process against COA when it released its report.

“We never contested that there was no due process. What we were saying was the publication of this report from COA, wherein we were still asked to comply for the said deficiencies and we were given until September to comply with that.”

“And by publishing that, people had that perception already…you know, it was corruption already. When in fact most of these were procedural submission of documents and requirements,” she said.

“What we are just trying to say would be, because of this 
perception, DOH has been branded to be corrupt because of this when in fact we are still given that chance to explain and submit our documentations.”

--ANC, 18 August 2021