By Jennylou Canon


After the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Health’s (DOH) “deficiencies”, President Rodrigo Duterte explained them, saying items were expensive due to global shortage.
“Iyong public bidding mahal pa rin kasi noon walang supply. Ngayon pwede mo na itong hingiin maski kanino kasi marami na. Kung kakaunti lang ang supply, eh ‘di mag-agawan tayo tapos mas mahal,” Duterte said in his weekly Talk to the People.

Duterte added that he advised Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to ‘purchase directly’ and not undergo public biddings but he did not follow.

“Sinabi ko kay Secretary Duque noon, ‘Magbili ka ng kung anong kailangan (I told Secretary Duque before, ‘buy what’s needed) to protect the public at saka tayo.’ Sabi ko, ‘Papaano itong gobyerno kung puro tayo may sakit?’ (and us’. I said, ‘how will the government run if we’re all sick?’),” Duterte said.

“Ngayon, noong marami na ito, maraming nagpapabili, nagmura na…Tandang-tanda ko na sinabi ko sa iyo (Now when there are a lot of these already, it got cheap…I can remember that I told you) this is a pandemic,” Duterte added. 

According to COA’s report, the DOH procured face masks and face shields priced at P27.72 and P120 respectively, and the P67.3 billion deficiencies were mostly used for the procurement.

However, as the demand for those items has eased, they are now priced at P2 per face mask, and P8-P20 per face shield.