ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor slammed the incompetence of the DoH, which he said led to more fatalities and people’s misfortunes.
“More than missed opportunities, the negligence of the DoH has caused death and despair of our people,” Defensor, whose advocacies are centered at ensuring better access of Filipinos to quality healthcare system, told House reporters in a viber group of the independent majority bloc “Back to Service in Congress” or BTS sa Kongreso led by former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano with House media.
“Ang daming kailangan. Simpleng vitamins wala ang mga tao. ‘Pag nagkasakit ang mahirap, naghihintay na lang sila kung gagaling o maho- hospital,” Defensor stressed.
“Many families are deep in debt because they cannot pay for hospitalization. Many locked down areas are wanting of support from vitamins, antibiotics among others,” Defensor pointed out.
Since 2019, Defensor said BTS members have scrutinized the budget of the DoH to ensure the transparent and efficient utilization of its funds.
“During COVID, we made sure that we are ready in our COVID response, especially the welfare of our frontliners. Ito na naman, budget ulit. Dapat ayusin talaga ang policy and research ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and separate the departments executing the same, especially the DoH and DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Defensor said.
“Also, the DoH should download their procurement to the regions because as we have seen in the past, centralization especially now, causes delay,” Defensor said.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat also scored the DoH. “Paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng administrasyong Duterte na wala tayong sapat na pera, pero ano itong napakalaking deficiencies na nasa report ng CoA? Parang isang bula ba ito na nawala agad? Nasaan napunta ang mahigit na P67B pondo?”
“Napakaraming health workers natin ang mababang sahod at wala o delayed ang hazard pay. May mga ospital na kulang-kulang ang kagamitan at kapasidad. Nakakapagduda talaga ang ganitong ulat ng kawalan ng maayos na records,” Cullamat said who demanded anew the resignation of Health Sec. Francisco Duque III.
“Kailangan nang mag-resign ni Sec. Duque sa lantarang kapabayaan na nagaganap sa DoH,” Cullamat ended.
Government auditors said this mishandling of public funds made the work of addressing the pandemic more difficult for the government.
They said DoH transactions are now undergoing more scrutiny due to doubts on their regularity and propriety.
Based on the breakdown provided in the 2020 audit report, the DoH transferred P42.412 billion to partner agencies for procurement activities or for the implementation of programs but these were not covered by a memorandum of agreement (MoA) or other supporting documents.
Without a copy of the MoA and relevant documents, the CoA said it was left in the dark what the procurement were all about and whether the funded programs were accomplished or not.
However, even with the billions in funding released last year auditors said hospitals and health workers were still left pleading to private donors for badly needed supplies, exposing them and their patients at risk.
Auditors noted that the DoH also left P11.89 billion pandemic funding unobligated or not assigned to any program or project. This sum was provided under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
Also flagged in audit were delays in the procurement of hospital equipment and supplies worth P3.42 billion; lack of transparency in posting the details of P5.113 billion worth of transactions in violation of guidelines set by the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB); improper documentation and inventory of donations to various hospitals worth P1.406 billion; questionable release of allowances worth P814.25 million; and deficient handling of P734.5 million funds under the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (Mechanism) by various hospitals.