Sotto on COA finding DOH's overpriced face shields: "Kaya pala"

August 20, 2021 05:07 PM

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III suspects a link between the Department of Health's mandatory face shield policy and their "overpriced" purchases, as revealed by the Commission on Audit.

“Kaya pala ayaw alisin ang paggamit ng face shields."

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III posted on his Twitter account, suspecting the reason why the Department of Health (DOH) continues pushing for the use of face shields. 

“Kaya pala ayaw alisin ang paggamit ng face shields,” Sotto wrote. 

(So that's why they won't eliminate the use of face shields) 

The Senate chief's post was in response to a quote from Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon saying, "Kasama ba sa P42B ang pinambili ng face mask na ayon sa COA (Commission on Audit) ay binili sa P27.22 kada piraso at face shields na nagkakahalaga ng P120 kada piraso. Hindi ba masyado mahal ang pagkakabili nito?"  

(Was the cost for buying face masks at P27.22 per piece and face shields at P120 per piece—according to COA—included in the P42B? Was that not overpriced?)

In the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the reported inconsistencies of the DOH in spending the country's COVID funds, Sotto's fellow lawmakers noticed the alleged overpricing of face masks and face shields that the DOH had previously acquired through the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS).

COA discovered that the DOH bought face shields priced as high as P120 per piece, while face masks were bought at a costly P27.72 each.  

DOH, in response, explained that when the agency procured the said products at the time, a suggested retail price was yet to be issued for both face masks and face shields.  

In September of last year, the DOH, however, issued a memorandum setting the suggested retail price of face masks at P2 to P4 each, and face shields at P26 to P50 per piece. 

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, meanwhile, has continuously pushed for the mandatory use of face shields in addition to face masks, saying that it adds protection against COVID. 

Sotto has previously disagreed with the Health Chief, explaining that there is a lack of scientific and medical evidence that proves face shields are effective in reducing the risk of COVID. 

Last June, Sotto even filed a resolution prompting an investigation into the efficiency of face shields in preventing COVID.




Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto III 18th Congress of the Philippines Senate of the Philippines Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Commission on Audit Department of Health DOH Secretary Francisco Duque face shield