Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

No double payments have been made to the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) for the same set of personal protective equipment (PPE), the Department of Health (DOH) maintained Wednesday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III answers questions from the media after the senate public hearing on the Philippine government’s preparedness on the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease on February 4, 2020.
Photo Courtesy: Angie de Silva/Rappler

In a statement, the DOH said it needed to procure full sets of PPE in bulk, as well as order loose surgical masks and face shields separately for healthcare workers in both high and low-risk settings.

During a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee Tuesday, the senators had asked the DOH if it transferred PHP42 billion to the PS-DBM and bought again the same PPE sets and other pandemic response supplies such as testing kits, face masks and face shields at the start of the pandemic early last year.

“The PS-DBM maintains a virtual store – similar to online shopping platforms – where common-use supplies and equipment, like PPEs, are available for the purchase of national government agencies and local government units. Virtual store orders can be immediately claimed by the procuring agency,” the statement read.

The DOH purchased loose face shields and surgical masks from the virtual store to immediately augment PPE supplies for healthcare workers in low-risk settings.

“As for the bulk PPE sets, these had to be ordered and took more time to be delivered. The PPE sets include nine components such as coverall suits, gloves, N95 mask, head cover, shoe cover, surgical mask, surgical gown, apron, and face shield,” it said.

Transactions were separate and “all orders were completely turned over to the Department”, it added.The procured PPE sets were given free of charge to healthcare workers in public and private hospitals and other health facilities, the Bureau of Quarantine, and Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units, the DOH said. 

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