De Lima chides DOH over purchase of overpriced medical supplies


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has demanded for government transparency and accountability after its procurement of reportedly overpriced personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical equipment amid the threat of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

De Lima, a known human rights defender and social justice champion, said procuring overpriced PPEs and supplies in the face of countless complaints from health frontliners who are crying for protection is considered “top level malfeasance.”

“Amidst a medical crisis of epic proportions, where the survival of the entire nation depends largely on a public health response, it is at the height of shamelessness when the very government agency tasked to steer the health sector is the very entity that has allowed possible corruption to creep through the system,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 799.

Labis na nakapagtataka kung paano niyo nasisikmurang ipangalandakan sa inyong mga press briefings ang dami at halaga ng mga supplies at equipment na diumano ay inyong nabili na habang nagmamakaawa at nagsusumamo ang mga medical frontliners natin para sa protective gear,” she added.

Recently, the Department of Health (DOH) received nationwide backlash for reportedly purchasing overpriced supplies, such as PPE, that are needed by  health workers caring for COVID-19 patients.

De Lima said the corruption allegations hounding DOH is happening at the expense of medical frontliners who are suffering from limited supply of PPE, citing the recent announcement by the Philippine General Hospital that it will limit PPE rations to three per week per person.

Dahil dito napipilitan ang ating health workers na tipirin ang paggamit ng kanilang PPE o kaya ulitin ang paggamit nito sa kabila ng panganib na maaaring maidulot ng ganitong gawain,” said she.

De Lima further questioned the move by the DOH to purchase expensive PPE from China despite reports that most products coming from China are defective and are dangerously substandard.

“While the country’s coffers are quickly drying up, while the health sector is struggling to hold the line, here is the DOH surrounded with corruption allegations yet again. Bakit natin kailangan bumili ng napakamahal na mga PPE from China samantalang marami nang naiulat na mga produkto ng China na depektibo at mapanganib?” she asked.

Kailangang magpaliwanag ng ating DOH ukol sa mga ulat na ito. Our people have suffered and placed our survival in the hands of our government. If we are to ‘heal as one, we need our government to be transparent and accountable,” she added. (30)

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