Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III has assured the Senate that the agency will be submitting a comprehensive breakdown of the distribution of medical supplies procured by the government for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response.
Lawmakers are seeking a detailed inventory of DOH-purchased items, where they were delivered, and how these were distributed to regional hospital.
“There is a list precisely of the inventory of the common use supplies and equipment and also where they were delivered, which warehouses on the strength of the property transfer receipts. Meron pong resibo po lahat ito (Everything has receipts),” Duque said during Friday’s hearing of the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers & Investigations (Blue Ribbon), chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, on the budget utilization of the DOH.
“Kung di pa po nakukumpleto (If it is not yet completely sent to the Senate), I will assure you we will complete this by Monday. We will just have to validate the lists of these equipment and supplies including the distribution,” Duque said.
An official of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, which has contracts with the government to deliver medical supplies like face masks and personal protective equipment, also cleared that when they started procuring items last year, they did not need a substantial capital as they received the stocks ahead of payment.
“When I first started the company with my partners, we were a startup. We did not envision the need for a lot of capitalization as the primary business was to introduce good pharma companies to invest in the Philippines,” company chair, Huang Tzu Yen, replied to the question of Senator Joel Villanueva on how they acquired 2.4 million face masks worth P54 million on April 14, 2020 when Pharmally only had P500,000 as capital that time.
“We have access to the inventories of suppliers and what we do is we negotiate preferential payment terms with these suppliers so we can get stock at hand,” Huang added.
Senator Cynthia Villar supported Huang’s reply, saying some contractors act as mere distributors.
“You know, I’m in business, minsan kase ‘yung kumpanya (sometimes a company is just a) distributor lang (only) of a bigger company in China. So you cannot expect them to be big but they can deliver a lot of product because they are doing it in behalf of a bigger company. They really don’t have to pay. They only get a commission,” she said.
“That (possibility) can be considered also. ‘Di kelangan malaking kumpanya dito kung sila ay nag-distribute lang (They don’t have to be a big company here if they only deliver) for a bigger company in China,” Villar said.