MANILA — The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) refuted on Thursday the allegations that it is confiscating medical supplies donated to private hospitals and re-distributing the items to other medical centers in favor of Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.
The OCD, an attached-bureau of the Department of National Defense, released a statement following claims that it is in cahoots with Go in manipulating the release of donations for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.
Screenshots of messages circulating on social media alleged that the confiscated medical supplies are being repackaged with attribution to Go and being distributed to Malasakit Centers.
The OCD merely dismissed as “false and malicious” information the claims about the supposed mishandling of donated medical supplies and equipment intended to help the government in its fight against Covid-19.
“Amidst the misinformation being peddled all over social media, the Office of Civil Defense remains committed to support and assist our valiant front-liners as they untiringly care for our Covid-19 patients nationwide,” it said in a press statement.
Earlier Thursday, Go denied that he is involved in the handling of all donations received by the Philippines to address Covid-19.
The OCD echoed Go’s statement, saying that it does not seek help from anybody when it comes to doing its task to make an inventory of and ensure the “orderly and swift” distribution of donated medical supplies.
It also said it was aware that Go’s office connects private donors directly to intended beneficiaries and helps them facilitate the delivery of the donations.
“To be clear, donations are not collected and not distributed to Malasakit Centers. Moreover, Senator Bong Go does not and will not interfere with the task of the OCD,” the OCD said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on March 31 signed Administrative Order (AO) 27, delegating OCD as the main coordinating body to manage the donations for Covid-19 response.
AO 27 states that donated medicine and medical supplies to stop Covid-19 transmission should be coordinated with and transmitted to OCD for consolidation.
The OCD said the government’s goal was to give additional medical supplies to Covid-19 front-liners to ensure that they are “well-protected” as they continue to take care of infected individuals.
It added that private donors are not being prevented to give direct assistance to their chosen health workers and hospitals.
“They are most welcome to do that and their efforts will be much appreciated. By keeping track of donations from all sources, OCD is able to perform its critical task of managing resources to ensure that those who are most in need are served without delay and discrimination,” it said.
“We encourage everyone to do their part in providing assistance to our front-liners who are sacrificing their lives to protect the Filipino people and defeat the virus,” the OCD added.
The Philippines now has 2,633 cases, with 107 deaths and 51 recoveries. (PNA)