Quezon City- The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) expressed its support to the ongoing Senate investigation regarding the misuse and deficiencies in the use of the Php 67.373 billion funds intended for Covid-19 response by the Department of Health (DOH).
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, NCCP General Secretary said that, “The Filipino people deserves nothing but the truth. The government owes it to us, the people, whom the government is claiming to serve. The President should stop being defensive and verbally harassing Senators in doing their work and mandate, as the Senate is a co-equal branch of the Executive. The defensive and condescending reactions from President Duterte himself and his allies in the Senate, such as Sen. Bong Go, are a threat to the principle of checks and balances enshrined at the very core of our Constitution.”
In an ongoing senate committee hearing, the DOH was grilled for the purchase of overpriced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) sets worth Php 1,910 each for a total of Php 3.82 billion from the newly incorporated Pharmarlly Pharmaceutical Corporation. The COA also flagged six other companies in its audit in 2020 where the DOH purchased expensive masks and face shields.
“We are now reeling from 33,448 deaths due to COVID-19; we have also reached the two million mark of Covid-19 cases. These questionable purchases are an affront to Filipinos who are expecting that their taxes are judiciously spent by the government. Many Filipinos would have benefitted if only these funds were rightfully appropriated for the service of the people” said Bishop Marigza. “Up until now, our medical frontliners are still waiting and fighting for their allowances and hazard pays. They have arduously sacrificed and served our people during this pandemic”, Bishop Marigza continued.
“We support the popular clamor to demand accountability from the DOH, and for Sec. Duque to step down. We would like to remind President Duterte that his repeated refusal to fire Sec. Duque has enabled him and his ilks to fester in their positions. The unholy deals with companies with questionable backgrounds at the expense of the suffering Filipino people must be stopped,” Bp. Marigza stated.
In an earlier statement, the NCCP lauded “the COA for their findings and for bringing out the report to the open.” The Protestant council also asserted that part of a healthy and transparent governance is maintaining the independence of the government branches in the exercise of carrying out its lawful mandate.
It is in this light that we pray that the Senate continue its investigation until the truth comes out, accountability is served, and justice is exacted. The people deserve to know the truth.” Bishop Marigza concluded. ##