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P1B patong ng China! Hontiveros hits DBM, DOH for buying ‘overpriced’ PPEs

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Senator Risa Hontiveros wants the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Department of Health (DOH) to explain why it bought five million sets of personal protective equipment (PPEs) from Chinese companies from April to May this year.

In a statement Wednesday (September 16), Hontiveros took issue with the alleged overpricing of the China-made PPEs.

She said her analysis of the 11 contracts entered into by DBM’s procurement service showed the PPE sets were overpriced by at least P200 per unit or P1 billion in total. The price range for the PPE sets bought by DBM ranged from P1,7000 to P2,000 per unit while the Philippine General Hospital estimates that PPE sets costs P1,200-P1,500 each.

“Isang bilyon ang nawala sa kaban ng bayan. This is one billion pesos that could have gone to more PPEs, especially during a time when an increasing number of our health workers were dying because of inadequate protection. Crucially, the one billion pesos could have also been allocated to increase the salaries of our health workers,” Hontiveros said.

The senator expressed dismay over DBM’s choice of Chinese companies to supply the PPE sets. Of the five million PPE sets, she said almost three million of these were outsourced from Chinese companies, including Xuzhou Const. Machinery Group, Wen Hua Dev’t Industrial Co., Ltd., Chushen Company Ltd., Pacific Field (Hong Kong) Ltd., and Shanghai Puheng Medical Equipment Co. Ltd.

The cheapest PPE sets — priced at P1,700 per set — were from Hafid N’ Erasmus Corporation, a Philippine-based company. However, only 30,000 units were acquired from them.

“DBM should explain these suspicious transactions. The Department of Health should also have exercised its mandate to inspect these procurements, especially since this is a vital aspect of our overall COVID-19 response,” Hontiveros said.

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