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9月9日のまにら新聞から

Duterte defends gov't strategy in buying medical equipment

[ 455 words|2021.9.9|英字 ]

President Rodrigo Duterte defended the government's strategy in buying medical equipment at high prices during the start of the pandemic in 2022, as he assured people there is no corruption.

"I would like to disabuse the minds of all of the detractors of the government. There is no corruption happening in the government procurement," Duterte said during the Talk To the People aired on Wednesday morning.

As he defended the government procurement, Duterte recalled his order to Health Secretary Francisco Duque when the pandemic broke out last year.

"My first order to Secretary Duque was to buy all things because our doctors might die. Do not go into a bidding because it will delay the delivery and cause more death. I ask him to buy at any market. That was my order. And I take full responsibility for that," he said.

Duterte also noted the legality of his order "under Republic Act No. 9184, or the "Government Procurement Reform Act"," which states "the acquisition was provided in Section 53 that a negotiated procurement shall be allowed in case of imminent danger to life or property during a state of calamity."

"It means the constitution allows us not to conduct a bidding process during calamity like what is happening now in the whole world," he said.

"It is important for you to know that the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Republic Act 11469 signed in March 24, 2020, provided, that the President shall have the power to adopt temporary emergency measures to respond to the crisis brought by pandemic including, among others, the procurement of the following as the need arises in the most expeditious manner, as exemptions from the provisions of Republic Act 9184," he added.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said because of high demand and low supply the price of medical supplies like face masks and PPE's went up last year.

"We need to remember what happened before because this will determine the movement of prices and we know the law of supply and demand. It is as simple as that, we cannot prevent that," he said.

"I remember, the price of masks went up since January (of 2020), before it was less than one peso up to eight pesos, it moved very fast, very high. On February 11, the DTI and DOH declared an SRP of 3 to 12 pesos, but on March 16 when we had the ECQ, it became 28 pesos," he added.

Lopez said while prices of medical supplies are increasing the government is convincing local manufacturers to produce critical medical devices like face masks, coveralls, and face shield as he emphasized the country does not have local producers of these equipment in the Philippines. Robina Asido/DMS