The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday defended anew the purchase of medical-grade ambulances that Senator Panfilo Lacson alleged were “overpriced.”
In a statement, the agency said the procured vehicles are compliant with the licensing standards and have undergone competitive bidding to get the lowest price possible.
The DOH added that it will wait for official documents being referred to so it can appropriately answer questions about the procurement.
“We will be able to shed light on the issue once we see the specific documents.What I can say is that our implementing units made a purchase based on the law,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said partly in Filipino.
Lacson on Thursday said under DOH’s Health Facilities Enhancement Program, ambulances with complete medical equipment were acquired at PHP2.5 million each.
But when he checked with local government units who bought the same equipment, he said the cost was only P1.5 million.
The DOH said the concerned vehicles are type I ambulances, fitted with Basic Life Support (BLS) equipment such as defibrillators, laryngoscope with three-blade sizes, suction machines, immobilization devices, and communication equipment as prescribed under the licensing standards outlined in Administrative Order 2018-0001.
Also included in the purchase are vehicle insurance, LTO registration, and orientation and training of end-users on the use and care of the ambulance and equipment, it added.
Meanwhile, it reiterated that it remains true to its commitment to upholding transparency in its transactions and said that all of the relevant documents of the procurement are made public on its website.
“We at the DOH are open to inquiries as part of checks and balances in the government. In procuring the ambulances, our intention was to give better services to our citizens especially at this time of need,” Duque said in Filipino.