Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26 20, 10:28 am

Duterte orders probe for overpriced COVID-19 test kits

by | News

May. 26, 20 | 10:28 am

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a “very careful” investigation regarding the alleged overpricing of COVID-19 testing kits by a local supplier.

The president expressed his disappointment with local businessmen who take advantage of the situation: “NBI should study the matter very, very carefully kasi alam mo…itong mga *expletive* mga negosyanteng ‘to (because you know, these businessmen) whether it’s really an issue of humanity and their greed,” said President Duterte during his meeting with top officials last May 25.

‘Yung hoarding na ‘yan no, you cannot, it’s part of the business practices which you may call not even obnoxious, it’s repulsive to the human mind when you start to think about it,” added the President in his warning against hoarding practices during the ongoing impact of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

RELATED STORY: Palace says PH now conducts 30,000 COVID-19 tests daily

This follows after former Health Secretary now Iloilo Representative Janette Garin called on President Duterte to investigate a “very enterprising” couple linked to overpricing COVID-19 testing kits and machines, claiming that the couple made it difficult for the private sector to access testing equipment and supplies unless they agree to purchase overpriced testing materials from them.

The couple had been identified as Van William and Emily Co, owners of Omnibus Corp., distributor of Sansure Biotech as per reports from the Philippine News Agency.

However, Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Lao said Omnibus Corp. did not win the bidding because they were selling equipment and supplies at a higher price.

Reports from the Philippine News Agency further that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in the meeting with Duterte, said he did not personally know the couple amid allegations that he centralized all the purchases of test kits and machines through the Omnibus Corporation.

READ ON: PH to join clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2020

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said profiteering can be penalized under the Price Act and Bayanihan Law.

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Lacson said the Department of Health (DOH) procured 10 nucleic acid extractor machines at PHP4 million each which is more than half the price of the same machines bought by Project Ark, a private sector pushing rapid antibody testing kits, which were priced at PHP1.75 million.

He also pointed out that the DOH bought a swabbing system priced twice as their common price.

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Duterte orders probe for overpriced COVID-19 test kits

Duterte orders probe for overpriced COVID-19 test kits

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a "very careful" investigation regarding the alleged overpricing of COVID-19 testing kits by a local supplier. The president expressed his disappointment with local businessmen...

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It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

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