Aquino admin official bares detailed PPE purchases in 2016 amid Senate probe into overpriced PPEs

September 3, 2021 - 6:36 PM
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Health workers prepare to conduct coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests in a household where positive cases have been recorded, as part of the government's contact tracing program, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, April 20, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

A former government official released detailed sets of personal protective equipment procured during the previous administration.

Abigail Valte, former deputy spokesperson of the Aquino administration, posted screenshots of these documents in light of the Senate probe into the alleged overpriced PPEs under the current administration.

“I heard people are looking for the specs of the PPE sets procured via PO [purchase order] dated June 23, 2016, so here you go,” Valte wrote on Twitter on Friday.

“Note that I intentionally cropped the signatories out of Page 3 to avoid exposing their signatures to fraudsters,” she added.

The images showed the purchase order of the Department of Health on June 23, 2016 for a set of PPE from 3M, a China-based manufacturer, worth P3,864 per unit.

They also showed that 3,750 sets of these PPEs were ordered for P14,490,000.

In each item of the set, the specifications, warranty and additional instructions were also provided in the PO.

Valte shared this after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque suggested that PPEs in 2015 and 2016 were costlier.

Roque stated this to defend the current administration’s purchase of PPE worth P1,910 each from local corporation Pharmally Pharmaceutical.

Top executives of Pharmally were allegedly wanted suspects in Taiwan for financial fraud.

RELATED: Pharmally execs, Michael Yang associate wanted in Taiwan — senator

“Hindi naman po pupuwedeng may overpricing sa P1,900 at walang overpricing sa P3,500. At uulitin ko lang po ha, kaparehong grade po ng PPE ang inangkat natin. Iba-ibang grade po iyan 1,2,3,4. 4 iyong pinakamataas na klasipikasyon at ginagamit po iyan sa kahit anong nakakahawang sakit, whether be it Ebola or COVID,” Roque said in a briefing on September 2.

“At ang inangkat po talaga natin kapareho din ng inangkat ng DOH noong bago matapos ang termino ni Presidente Aquino, level 4 na PPE,” he added.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office also posted screenshots of these purchase orders on social media.

The images showed three purchasing orders made on different dates:

  • May 6, 2020
  • September 28, 2015
  • June 23, 2016

Some users, however, noticed that the PO to Pharmally do not contain the type of PPE and other necessary details in the procurement of government items.

“Yan na yung PO. Bakit walang tech specs?” one user said.

“Pwede po pakipublish ng buo yung PO ng DOH pra makita item by item at saka composition nung sa DBM PS, specifications etc.,” another user wrote.

‘Not overpriced’

President Rodrigo Duterte also denied allegations that the medical supplies bought during the pandemic are overpriced.

In his recorded Talk to the People aired on September 2, Duterte cited the high demand for face masks and PPEs as basis for the pricing.

“Were the purchases of masks overpriced? Iyon ang tanong. Ang sagot is, no, they are not. PS-DBM procured the surgical masks below the [DOH], DTI suggested retail prices during that time. Mas mababa sa suggested prices ng DOH pati DTI,” Duterte said.

“And when there was a high demand for the same, it is not accurate to compare the purchase price of surgical masks at the height of COVID-19 and during the period when the supply of surgical masks began to stabilize,” he added.   

The chief executive also stated that the medical supplies were priced higher due to lack of supply.

“So ang presyo na ‘yun mataas kasi kung kakaunti lang kasi ang supply because manufacturers were just producing it at that time, eh mahal talaga kasi walang supply so agawan,” Duterte said.

RELATED: Duterte says medical supplies not overpriced