SHIELDS UP People waiting for a ride at the Nepa Q-Mart bus station in Quezon City had their face shields up amid the government’s decision to revoke a policy to make face shield wearing mandatory. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor claimed Friday that the Quezon City government’s procurement of 400,000 units of face shields was “overpriced” by as much as P24 million, an allegation that the camp of city mayor Joy Belmonte quickly denied and called “unfounded.”
Defensor made the allegation as he filed House Resolution No. 2143 which calls on the House of Representatives to investigate the alleged overpriced procurement.
In the resolution, Defensor said that back in December 2020, the Quezon City government procured 400,000 pieces of face shields for P27 million, with the per unit cost at P67.50.
However, Defensor said this per unit cost is “more than 600% higher” than the going rate of P10 in Binondo for face shields during the same time.
“We note that in usual business practice, a bulk sale results in a lower than normal price per unit in consideration of the high volume procurement,” Defensor said in the resolution.
“In the case of QC’s procurement of face shields, there was an almost P60 premium paid per unit; a practice which is contrary to the policy set forth in the Constitution and R.A. 6713 that there be no wastage in public funds and revenues,” he added.
But Quezon City legal head Atty. Orlando Casimiro denied that the procurement was overpriced, claiming that Defensor’s motivation for making such claims were “quite obvious.”
Casimiro pointed out that the procurement was made during the time that IATF Resolution No. 88, Series of 2020, which was issued on December 14 last year, made it mandatory to wear face shields under the threat of legal sanctions.
“This triggered the immediate necessity to provide our citizens with the means to comply therewith, especially the poor. Along with other factors, this caused a surge in demand and a sharp spike in prices,” he said in a statement.
Further, Casimiro said that during that time, even the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service was selling the same faceshield at P120 per piece to other government units.
“Effectively, therefore, Quezon City acquired them at half the price. We procured this under an emergency bidding process (due to the IATF Resolution) wherein there were other qualified participants, and we selected the lowest price as mandated by law,” he said.
Casimiro then turned the tables on Defensor, saying that the lawmaker “demonstrated that anyone can access the documentation” of the Quezon City government transactions through the supporting documents that he used.
“While he was most likely just using these documents for optics, the public can be rest assured that these were meticulously audited and scrutinized by the Commission on Audit, which gave the present QC administration the highest audit score that the city has ever managed throughout its long history,” Casimiro said.
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