MANILA – National Action Plan on Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. clarified Thursday that there are no irregularities in the procurement of PHP20 billion worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and other medical supplies.
Galvez, who is also presidential adviser on the peace process, expressed his dismay over a report and an editorial published in two media outlets which he said were insinuating that there is “overpricing” on the procurement of the PPE sets, as the PHP20 billion fund covers only three million sets.
“I am disappointed because the above-mentioned articles they published are malicious and an inaccurate portrayal of my original statement. Not only was I misquoted, but the said articles also cast a cloud of doubt not only on the integrity of the National Task Force against Covid-19 but on government as a whole,” he said in a statement.
In an earlier interview in Davao City, he said the PHP20-billion budget will be used to purchase “three million sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) alone, but for 11 million complete PPE sets.”
“The three million PPEs that was cited in the Rappler and PDI articles are actually part of the first tranche of the 11 million PPEs worth PHP20-billion to be purchased by the Philippine government. The three million PPEs are being stockpiled for the months of June up to August this year,” he added.
He said he even explained during the interview that the other remaining PPE sets to be purchased under the PHP20-billion budget “is part of the government’s efforts to stockpile PPEs and other essential medical supplies and equipment until 2021.”
The price of a complete set of the protective gear is around PHP1,818, he said, which is much lower than the “PHP6,667 price cited by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in their editorial.”
“These PPEs are of Level 4 quality. They include a medical-grade PPE suit, military-grade goggles, a face mask, and shoe and head covers which are designed to provide full protection to our medical front-liners,” Galvez said, adding that these are the same suit the government earlier provided to the staff of the Philippine General Hospital.
He added that the procurement of the three million PPE sets is already in the pipeline under the program of the Department of Health through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management.
“As we know, there is a shortage of PPEs in the global market. And common sense dictates that it is simply impossible and too risky to source out 11 million PPEs worth PHP20 billion from a single supplier on a single transaction,” he said, adding that the PPE sets will be sourced through a combination of purchases, both from international manufacturers and local producers.
Galvez assured the public that the purchase of the protective gear and other medical supplies has undergone “a very rigid procurement process.”
“We will provide the highest medical standard as we emphasized in our National Action Plan on Covid-19 that one of the imperatives are the protection and preservation of our healthcare workers and front-liners,” he said.
He said the NTF will always comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directives without tolerating any anomalous transactions in government services.
“Through all the years I have served in the military and as a public servant, I have always treasured honor and moral integrity. As I often said: A man without honor is dead,” he said.
Meanwhile, Galvez said he is planning to take legal action against the two media outlets, “if these issues are not clarified.”
“I would like to call on Rappler and the Philippine Daily Inquirer to review the transcript of my May 9 interview to set the record straight and put things in their proper context,” he said. (ia/PNA)