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1Sambayan, ended 1st online town hall by asking for government’s accountability in pandemic response

[NYK NEWS] By: Cedrix Perez

With some irregularities in procurement, mismanagement of government spending and inaccurate emergency health response, 1Sambayan, a coalition formed to unite opposition, clearly believes that these are the reasons why the administration is failing in handling the pandemic.

On Wednesday, 1Sambayan launched its Kwento at Kwenta sa panahon ng Pandemya, an online town hall meeting on the pandemic response by the government.

Government’s Irregularities and Mismanagement

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales presented an analysis of procurements of Covid-19 related spending such as PPEs and facemask.

According to her, there’s a possibility of improper spending of the budget since the numbers reported by the government for procuring facemask and PPEs was a way higher than the prices in reputable markets.

Data also showed that the government could save millions of funds if they manage a proper spending of the budget.

For instance, the transaction of surgical masks which was procured at 1400 per piece is 52 times larger than the median price of 26.

Yet procurement at the median price would save up 190 million while the 10% higher would have saved 49 million.

There is also an irregularity in buying PPE’s, the report said that of the 1,424 items, only 600 had external prices available and 70% of the items were higher than the median price.

The plastic aprons procured at 340 per piece is 22 times larger than the median price, it could have saved 550 million at the median price and 319 million if 10% of the median price.

"Kapag hindi nagmatch 'yung on paper na number of PPEs and the amount of PPEs sa actual na nakikita natin, this must be ghost purchases." Morales said.

Meanwhile, JC Punongbayan, a journalist, debunked the claim of Duterte’s administration that the government has no money to spend for the pandemic response, showing data that there is a huge fund that has been borrowed to provide assistance for this national health emergency.

Rallying Call

Clean and honest spending of the government fund is the rallying call of former Commission on Audit Commissioner Heidi Mendoza on discussing the intention of 1Sambayan in doing the town hall for the people.

“Naniniwala ako na 'yung ating pinagdadaanan na economic difficulties ay hindi lang bunga ng pandemic o COVID-19. Bunga ito ng maling pagtugon at maling paggamit ng pera ng bayan. Pero hindi natin pwedeng isisi lahat dyan, bunga rin ito ng walang pakikialam ng ibang nasa pamahalaan at mga namumuno sa pamahalaan or ordinaryong mamamayan.” Mendoza said.

The town hall also discussed the importance of accountability in the time of pandemic, giving details about the electronic documents and digital signatures.

Ombudsman Morales also asked the people saying in verbatim, ang tanong ko po, you want to run the risk of losing what you have?


Watch the full town hall meeting of Kwento at Kwenta sa Panahon ng Pandemya here:

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