MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) clarified on Friday that the 337 donated respirators to government and private hospitals were already delivered, with only 63 respirators on standby and ready to be deployed to regions experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases.
DOH issued the clarification after House lawmakers hit the agency for supposedly failing to distribute the respirators donated by some firms from the tobacco industry.
“The DOH further clarified that it has received about 400 respirators from the Temasek Foundation. Out of this number, 30 units were sponsored by a private company associated with the tobacco industry,” read a statement from the agency.
“The DOH did not accept the said donations in line with CSC (Civil Service Commission)-DOH Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2010-01 which prohibits government agencies from accepting donations from the tobacco industry. Instead, the DOH facilitated the immediate delivery of the machines to 10 private hospitals identified by the private company for them to be used on COVID-19 patients,” the DOH explained.
According to reports, the reason the DOH cited for holding on to the donated respirators was that the JMC prohibits government interaction with the tobacco industry, including issuing receipts of donations. The JMC was signed by then-CSC chief Francisco Duque III, who is now DOH secretary.
CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada said she had moved to recall the “defective” JMC. She also said that there was no record in the CSC granting Duque authority to sign the JMC on behalf of their “collegial body.”
DOH then thanked the Temasek Foundation for the donated respirators and the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore for facilitating the delivery of the donations.
The Temasek Foundation is a non-profit organization in Singapore that promotes social and cultural interaction, education, and aid for the disadvantaged in Asia. Faith Yuen Wei Ragasa, Inquirer trainee
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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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