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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

COA flags P1.38b COVID PPE contract

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The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management-(PS-DBM) on contracts for the procurement of personal protective equipment against COVID-19 worth P1.386 billion without the safety requirement.

In a 2021 report, state auditors said purchase orders for PPEs such as surgical masks, face shields, aprons, gloves, coveralls, head and cover gowns, and respirators were made even if the supplier did not submit the necessary Certificate of Medical Device Notification (CMDN), ABS-CBN News reported.

The CMDN is a requirement for importers and manufacturers under the Food and Drug Administration circular dated Nov. 3, 2020, along with the license to operate.

The COA further said of the P1.386 billion contract, all items were fully delivered and paid by PS-DBM, except for a purchase order worth P505.7 million which was not delivered nor paid as of the end of 2021.

“The PS did not exercise due diligence in procuring the personal protective equipment items, neither in crafting the TSs nor in the review and evaluation of the technical capacity of the supplier to deliver the goods to be procured using the non-discretionary criteria,” the COA, quoted by ABS- CBN News, said.

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The COA further said without the CMDN, the personal protective equipment were not authorized for sale or public use.
The PS-DBM management however countered that the CMDN is only required if the PPE “is to be commercially sold in the local market” adding that PPEs were procured “during extraordinary times and community lockdowns.”

Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto meanwhile called on Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman to conduct what he tagged as “post mortem on delayed and bungled” procurement activities of the PS-DBM.

“I have no doubt that the highly capable Secretary Pangandaman will do what is right,” Recto said, stressing that the COA -discovered irregularities in PS-DBM operations “did not happen during her watch.”

“These are problems she inherited and I think that she will not allow these to continue,” the Batangas lawmaker said.

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