MEDICAL supplies ordered picked up by government planes and vessels from foreign suppliers, particularly from China, were not those procured from the controversial Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Inc.
National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. clarified this Wednesday, September 22, after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he was the one who ordered the use of government resources for the immediate delivery of medical supplies during the onset of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020.
“Eroplano. Kinuwestiyon ninyo bakit ginamit ang C-130 pagkuha ng medical supplies? (You questioned why we used the C-130 plane in getting the supplies?) I think it was Xiamen. How many trips did it take the Air Force to do that? Well, it was my order. Sabi ko nga (I told them) use any means you want. Deliver it by land, water, or air. It’s a recorded meeting, you can look at it. Ako ang may utos noon kasi gusto kong madalian. Eh ako ‘yung Presidente, hindi naman ikaw (I was the one who ordered that because I want it rushed and after all, I am the president),” Duterte said during his Talk to the People Address.
Galvez said the medical supplies picked from suppliers include 900,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) bought from Chinese firm Chungzen and Junhua.
He said they also tapped Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines to fetch the supplies.
“Kung natatandaan po namin nagkaroon po kami ng presentation sa inyo na that was April 2 (2020) na kailangan po talaga na within two to three days or four days nandiyan na po ‘yung PPE dahil kasi 17 po ang namatay na doktor at mayroon pa pong naka-intubate na 10,” said Galvez.
(We had a presentation on April 2, 2020 showing that we need to have the supplies in two to three months because 17 doctors have already died and 10 others were intubated.)
“Actually, halos karamihan po nu’n sa mga doktor na ‘yun namatay din po. Kaya 27 po lahat po ‘yung namatay po noong panahon ng March and April. Kaya po ‘yung ano, ‘yung ano natin, sinabi niyo po na talagang gamitin lahat ang resources,” he added.
(Actually, majority of those doctors died. At least 27 had died in March and April. That’s why we really had to use the resources.)
He maintained that no government plane was used for the transportation of medical supplies purchased from Pharmally by the Procurement Service (PS) of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Pharmally, the country’s biggest supplier of Covid-19 supplies, as established in the Senate blue ribbon committee investigation on the irregularities in the use of pandemic response funds by the Department of Health (DOH) that was flagged by the Commission on Audit, has been in hot water after bagging over P8 billion worth of contract from PS despite having a small start-up capital.
The firm was allegedly “favored” due to its links with former adviser for economic affairs Michael Yang.
The DOH transferred P42 billion of its Covid-19 funds to PS for the procurement of medical supplies. The legality of the transfer is being questioned, as it was done in lieu of a memorandum of agreement.
Duterte again defended the procurement of supplies, which was done in an “expeditious manner” with the provision of the Bayanihan Law.
He singled out Senator Francis Pangilinan, who pointed out on Tuesday’s hearing, September 21, that the Bayanihan Law only took effect on April 6, 2020 and that the transaction of PS with Pharmally on March 25, 2020 for the procurement of face masks is not yet covered by the law.
“So sa ating mga health workers, mga frontliners at mga kababayan, tingnan ninyo itong si Pangilinan, habang nasa krisis tayo, nagmamadali dahil marami ang namamatay na na mga Pilipino at nagkaroon na ng gana magtanong ng effectivity ng Bayanihan 1,” said Duterte.
(To our health workers, frontliners and fellowmen, look at Pangilinan who has the guts to question the effectivity of Bayanihan 1 when we were in a crisis, rushing to save lives.)
“Pero kahit hindi pa effective ‘yan, bibilhin na natin para ang supply nandiyan at hindi tayo maunahan at medyo ma -- well, we can reduce the deaths of the persons who were vulnerable, ‘yung delikado ‘yung trabaho,” Duterte added.
(But even if it was not effective yet, we will purchase the supplies already to make sure that we can reduce the deaths of persons who are vulnerable.) (SunStar Philippines)