MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday (June 29) said he was ‘disheartened’ by the corruption allegations of Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Duque reiterated in a statement that the department is always transparent and cooperative to auditing efforts of the government.
He also said that the DOH already submitted the vaccine loan reports to the Department of Finance (DOF) and during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing.
However, Duque said the department is ready to undergo another auditing and inquiries from legislators to show where the vaccine loans went.
“While we are disheartened by these baseless accusations from our government officials, we submit ourselves to inquiries from legislators as this is a part of the checks and balances in our government,” he said.
“Kung ang tanong ay kung handa kaming ipakita kung saan napunta ang pondo, handang handa po kami (If the question is if we are prepared to show where the funds went, we are ready). We submit reports to concerned government agencies and even the Senate,” he added.
Duque also stated that the loaned funds directly went to vaccine manufacturers and did not go through the health department.
“Ang inutang na pondo ay diretsong napupunta sa vaccine manufacturer mula sa funding agency. Hindi po dumadaan sa DOH o maski na sa gobyerno ang pera mula sa mga funding agencies,” he said.
(The loaned vaccines from funding agencies directly went to the vaccine manufacturers. The money from funding agencies did not go through the DOH or in any government agencies)
The statement came after Pacquiao named the DOH as the first government agency to be looked into as to where the vaccine loans which were supposed to procure personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical equipment have gone to.
“Magsimula tayo sa DOH. Silipin at busisiin natin lahat ng mga binili mula sa rapid test kits, PPE , masks at iba pa. Handa ka ba Sec. Francisco Duque na ipakita ang kabuuan ng iyong ginagastos? Saan napunta ang pera na inutang natin para sa pandemya?” Pacquiao asked.
(Let us start with the DOH. We should review all the procured items from rapid test kits, PPEs, masks, and others. Is Secretary Francisco Duque prepared to show everything? What happened to the money we borrowed for the pandemic?)
Duque also said that the DOH rationally used its funds to continuously implement the Universal Health Care Law and ensure unhampered delivery of health services while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the DOH said that it signed a Manifesto of Pledge of Cooperation and Oath of Honesty for Project KASANGGA with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Council (PACC) on April 30.
Under Project KASANGGA, government agencies commit to reducing corruption incidents through swift detection, prosecution, and resolution of graft and corruption cases within their department. –AAC