Common practice for DOH to transfer funds to DBM - Vergeire

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2021 01:17 PM

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MANILA - It has been common practice of the Department of Health to seek the help of the Department of Budget and Management's procurement service (PS-DBM) when purchasing items for a long time now, an undersecretary said Tuesday.

It was earlier revealed that the DOH transferred P42 billion to the PS-DBM for the procurement of personal protective equipment, including face masks worth P27 each, and face shields at P122 a piece, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had been doing this for a long time already kasi yung mechanism naman ng PS-DBM for commonly used supplies nand'yan naman talaga. Kaya ginagawa naman po talaga ‘yan ng Department of Health, and other agencies do that. We transfer the funds and PS-DBM are the ones managing procurement na mga ito," Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC's Headstart.

(We had been doing this for a long time already because the mechanism of the PS-DBM for commonly used supplies is there. That's why the DOH and other agencies do this. We transfer the funds and PS-DBM manages the procurement.)

Vergeire explained that the DOH tapped the PS-DBM at that time when there was a global shortage of protective equipment because the agency had "a network of suppliers."

This request for procurement was triggered by the clamor from hospitals across the country for PPEs and the need for testing kits when the Philippines expanded its testing capacity.

"So we had to do something. Ito po, nakipag-usap tayo at sa PS-DBM natin naibigay itong pera natin," she said.

(So we had to do something. Then we discussed it and we gave the money to PS-DBM.)

In the hearing on the DOH's management of COVID-19 funds, senators also questioned the DBM on why several companies were able to bag billions worth of contracts despite not having sufficient capital.

In particular, Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. was cited for clinching P8.6 billion in contracts for face masks and test kits even if it was only incorporated in 2019 with a capital of P599,000. It was also found to have been using fake addresses in its registration documents.

Senators also questioned the purchase of overpriced items from this company, which sold face masks at P27, test kits at P1,720 and PPEs at P1,910.