Senator Risa Hontiveros today, September 29 showed contracts entered into by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to procure allegedly overpriced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in April and May.
“You want evidence? Here are 11 pieces. DBM should plainly explain these contracts. Huwag nilang linlangin ang taumbayan gamit ang pagpapa-ikot ng maling impormasyon. What we need is clarity,” senator Hontiveros said.
“Representative Mike Defensor also came out to defend DBM, claiming that what the agency procured was cheaper than that procured by the previous administration. If that’s the case, then pa-imbestigahan at kasuhan nila. As Senator during the current administration, I am simply exercising our Congressional oversight. May nakita kaming mali, kaya kinukwestiyon,” she also said.
The senator gave a Google Drive link where the eleven contracts can be accessed: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1T26b0shNIhONGSQHByN_AhnM2KeMMWbf
She said that these reveal that DBM did sign four contracts with local companies, including Hafid N’ Erasmus, which had the cheapest PPE cost at only P1,700. She added that, however, DBM signed more contracts with Chinese companies, whose costs were higher.
“Huwag din sabihin ng DBM na walang kakayanan nung umpisa ng pandemya ang lokal na mga kumpanya. As early as February 6, binalita na na ang Bataan-based firm called Medtex ay kayang gumawa ng 2 million face masks monthly. At meron din silang sister company under the Medtec Group of Companies na nagproproduce ng PPEs. Bakit hindi sa mga katulad nila nag-negotiate ang DBM? Bakit inuna ang foreign companies?” the senator noted.
“Of the 11 contracts, three of these are in the same time period as DOH’s price freeze. Almost P1,000 lang dapat ang cost ng isang PPE set kung sa local companies binili. But no, DBM opted to transact with Chinese firms. Kaya kung tutuusin, ang P1 billion overpricing is highly conservative. Mukhang mas malaki at mas malalim pa ang pangungupit,” Hontiveros said.
“We have so many questions for the DBM, and again, we do need answers to better inform our budget deliberations in the Senate. Dapat narin maumpisahan na ang audit ng COVID-19 funds hindi lang para sa kaduda-dudang mga PPEs na ito, pati narin sa lahat na ginastos ng gobyerno,” Hontiveros noted.