The Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) denied Senator Risa Hontiveros’ allegation that the government lost P1 billion due to the overpricing of five million personal protective equipment sets (PPEs).
Contrary to the senator’s claim, Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher A. Lao, who heads PS-DBM, said they even generated about P800 million in “savings” by dealing directly with manufacturers and accredited distributors.
“The savings generated can now be used for additional PPEs and other COVID-19 response items that the DOH (Department of Health) needs to bolster the government’s fight against the pandemic,” Lao said in a statement on Thursday. “The savings generated can now be used for additional PPEs and other COVID- 19 response items that the DOH needs to bolster the government’s fight against the pandemic.”
Lao issued the statement after Hontiveros said on Wednesday that the price of PPEs procured by DBM-PS range from P1,700 to P2000, which the senator said is above the estimates of Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that PPEs range from P1,200 to P1,500.
Responding to Hontiveros criticism that PS-DBM is supposedly prioritizing foreign companies over local ones, Lao defended PS-DBM’s decision to award seven of the contracts for the procurement of PPE sets to China-based companies from April to May this year, saying this was because there was “no local supplier that could comply with the DOH required 8-piece PPE set budgeted at PHP 2,000 per set.”
Lao also argued that PhilPharma, the sole local company that offered the 8-piece PPE set during the initial procurement, submitted an offer that was not declared non-compliant with the requirements of DOH because the price offer was “higher than the allocated budget” and its on-hand stocks were “inadequate” and therefore would be “unable to deliver on time.”
Citing data from PS-DBM, Lao said PhilPharma’s price offer was P2,873, which is 43.65 percent higher than the allocated budget.
“On the other hand, price offers received from the China-based suppliers averaged at PHP 1,773.51, 38.27 percent lower than the offer of PhilPharma, and 11.32 percent lower than the allowable budget. It is for this reason that the PS-DBM deemed it only proper and beneficial for the Philippine government to award the urgently-needed PPEs to foreign suppliers,” he added.
As for the face shield, local company Unimasters Conglomerations Inc. was found to be compliant for specification, delivery and offered the lowest price at P328.00 when PS-DBM conducted market scanning in March this year. However, Lao said they discovered that the market price was approximately P160 to P200, which caused the disapproval of the recommendation of award.
Lao added they also sent letters to the office of senator Hontiveros and to PGH, requesting them to name local suppliers who supposedly could offer an 8-piece PPE set last April 1 to May 15, 2020, at a price lower than PHP 1,772.58—the lowest price procured by PS-DBM during that specific period. But PS-DBM said they have not yet received a response from them.
Aside from this, PS-DBM is also requesting the senator’s office to produce the suppliers’ invoice, official receipts, and other pertinent documentation of PGH supporting their claim that the same PPEs were estimated to be at PHP 1,500.00 per set as of March to May 2020, just as Sen. Hontiveros stated.