Gov’t releases P95.6-M for additional COVID-19 testing equipment

June 9 ------ The government has released P95.6 million for the Department of Health’s (DOH) procurement of additional testing equipment for the coronavirus infection, according to the latest report of President Duterte to Congress. The latest budget allocation for the COVID-19 testing equipment has been sourced from the pooled savings under the 2020 national budget.

“The DOH was provided with an additional cash allocation of PhP95,625,000.00 sourced from the FY 2020 GAA (General Appropriations Act), for the procurement of RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) detection kits,” the President said in his report. The President earlier disclosed that the government spent P14.1 billion to purchase additional personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and other medical equipment to boost the country’s capacity to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Out of the 6,127,349 PPE sets, the President said a total of 1,508,000 sets have so far been delivered. Another 3.5 million PPE sets will be delivered within the month. Around P12.1 billion was earlier allocated for the PPE procurement. He said nine different types of PCR test kits have been procured for P1.6 billion. At least 12,992 tests kits have been delivered while the rest will arrive next month. Duterte also said the purchase of 1,000 mechanical ventilators worth P946,000 has also started. The units will be delivered within July 2020 to March 2021.

Local and foreign donations

As of June 3, the President said the DOH has facilitated 231 local and foreign donations of medical equipment and supplies. Of these donations, 167 have been delivered. The donations include 4,623,950 surgical masks, 101 ventilators, 377,940 N95 masks, and 224,779 PPEs/medical coveralls. The country has also received 1,627,248 RT-PCR testing kits from donations. According to the President, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has so far received a total of P32 million cash donations from local donors. The funds have been deposited to the OCD-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council bank account.

“Consequently the said financial donations will be remitted to the Bureau of Treasury and release thereof shall be made upon request to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) once prior allocation has been determined,” he said.

DOH budget for COVID response

Of the P354.4 billion in cash allocation for the government’s coronavirus response, at least P48.2 billion has recently been set aside for the DOH’s coronavirus-related programs. The DOH funds included P45.7 billion to cover funding requirements for the efficient implementation of Republic Act No. 11469 or “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” programs, P1.9 billion for the procurement of RT-PCR detection kits, P500 million to replenish quick response funds to address the emerging threat of the COVID-19, and P100 million for the immediate and continued response to emerging diseases posed by polio and COVID-19.