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COA findings pertain to inventory, not overpricing: exec

COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo
Commission on Audit chairman Michael Aguinaldo

MANILACommission on Audit (COA) Chairman Michael Aguinaldo clarified that the findings of the auditing team that handled the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) pertained to the inventory management, and not the alleged overpricing of the medical supplies in the fight against Covid-19.

“The findings of auditing that handles PS-DBM really pertained more to inventory management and not the overpricing,” Aguinaldo said during the Senate inquiry on Tuesday.

Aguinaldo said the PS-DBM procured “quite a bit” of face masks anywhere from PHP13 to PHP27 per piece during the first few months of the pandemic.

“The problem was hindi po nadispose kasi a lot of these equipment right away so that no’ng dumating po no’ng September (a lot of these equipment were not disposed right away so that when September [2020] came) and the prices went down, the regional offices and the hospitals ng DOH, ayaw nang bumili from PS-DBM kasi mahal (They don’t want to buy anymore from PS-DBM because its expensive already),” he said.

He said the PS-DBM was forced to dispose the Covid-19 supplies “at a discount” due to inventory management problem.

Makati City Pabakuna

“Now they’re face to the problem with a lot of stock but no one wants to get because its expensive, and so mapipilitan ang PS-DBM (was forced) to dispose of them at a discount. ‘Yun po ‘yung main observation doon (That’s our main observation) that there was a problem in the inventory management,” Aguinaldo said.

Former DBM Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao said the PS-DBM awarded the contract to EMS Components Assembly for the supply of face masks.

EMS chairman Ferdinand Ferrer, however, said although his company secured a 100-million piece face mask contract with the government, only 25 million face masks were bought for PHP13.50.

Ferrer said the PS-DBM only paid PHP2.35 each of the remaining 75 million face masks, resulting in only total sales of PHP523 million or way below the original PHP1.3 billion contract. (PNA)