Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the government’s procurement of locally-made personal protective equipment (PPEs) amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 506 upon learning that the government is buying only 10 million out of the 57.6 million PPEs Confederation of Philippine Manufacturers of PPEs had manufactured while the remaining are being exported.
She questioned the government’s apparent favor given to imported PPEs from countries like China, even if local manufacturers are capable of producing the same.
“Our COVID-19 response budget can afford to supply more frontliners with more medical-grade equipment if we procure locally. We have the supply, we have the quality, and we have the funds — bakit patuloy pa ang mass importation natin [why do we still import]?” she asked in a statement.
“Bakit natin pipiliin ang imported PPEs na may kwestiyonableng kalidad kung kaya naman nating mag-produce ng dekalidad sa halos kaparehong presyo? Hindi praktikal ang mag-import pa, habang padami ng padami ang health workers na nagkakasakit,” she added.
(Why would we choose imported PPEs with questionable quality if we can produce quality at almost the same price? It is not practical to import more, as more and more health workers are getting sick.)
Hontiveros seeks probe on locally-made PPEs procurement
She said the Bayanihan PPE Project led by the Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, and Board of Investments should release updates as the project aimed to boost local production of medical supplies.
Senator Sonny Angara earlier said the Bayanihan 2 mandated the government to purchase personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers from local manufacturers with its P3 billion worth of allocated funds.
“There’s a provision [in the measure] that says local manufacturers should be prioritized if the government will purchase [PPE] and other equipment provided that the government will not be on the losing end [of the supply contracts],” Angara said in a radio interview.