Gov't supports calls for transparency on COVID-19 response â testing czar
In this June 8, 2021 photo, individuals maintain social distancing and strictly observe health protocols as they queue for their second dose of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID19 vaccine at the Manila Prince Hotel in Manila.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

Gov't supports calls for transparency on COVID-19 response — testing czar

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - June 14, 2021 - 6:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is ready to disclose the details of the budget for the government's COVID-19 response and is supportive of calls to ensure transparency in the implementation of pandemic-related measures, an official said Monday.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said national government agencies would provide a breakdown of the COVID-19 outlay during the Senate hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

"Transparency is really important. And the national government agencies will be presenting the breakdown of the budget and how it has been utilized, released and utilized, tomorrow (June 15) at the Senate committee of the whole hearing," Dizon said at a press briefing.

"Definitely, we support calls for transparency and we will be very transparent po," he added.

Dizon claimed that the budget department has not sought an additional P25 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

"I don’t think the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) had made any request for an additional P25 billion. I just want to clarify that," he said.

"However, tomorrow at the Senate, we will, in the interest of transparency and accountability, the DBM, the DOH (Department of Health) and the National Task Force will be presenting the breakdown of the budget that the Congress has approved for the vaccination program. So maybe we can wait until tomorrow at the Senate hearing for that," he added.

Last Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called for a full accounting of the P82.5-billion pandemic procurement budget and urged the Duterte administration to be more transparent about the pricing of the vaccines.

In a statement, the senator said this year's budget allocated P72.5 billion for the purchase of COVID-19 shots but only P2.5 billion is funded. Another P10 billion is earmarked under the Bayanihan 2 law, making the total COVID-19 vaccine outlay at P82.5 billion, the senator added.

Drilon has also asked vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. to provide the Senate a consolidated report on vaccine procurement by the national government, local government units and the private sector.

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