^
Senators: Are officials profiting from sale of shields?
The lawmakers cited past instances during which vital equipment, testing kits and other supplies for COVID-19 response were found to be overpriced, as well as irregularities in the disbursements of dole-outs for the poor as uncovered in Senate investigations.
Philstar.com/Ian Lising

Senators: Are officials profiting from sale of shields?

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators have raised the possibility that some government officials may be profiting from the sale of face shields, noting that health authorities have yet to present solid scientific basis for their mandatory use.

The lawmakers cited past instances during which vital equipment, testing kits and other supplies for COVID-19 response were found to be overpriced, as well as irregularities in the disbursements of dole-outs for the poor as uncovered in Senate investigations.

“People cannot help but suspect something is wrong somewhere,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III told reporters in a text message yesterday.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said it was possible that there was corruption, particularly officials profiting from the pandemic, “considering all the inconsistencies and conflicting statements of those in charge of the handling of the country’s pandemic response” – from persistent reports of irregularities in the handing out of the social amelioration program to the procurement of COVID-19 related products.

“The track record and pattern of misuse and mishandling of public funds and other similar issues involving PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp.), DOH (Department of Health), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), etc. do not help assuage the negative public attitude in this regard,” Lacson said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said he would not be surprised that some government officials are exploiting the pandemic for profit as was established with the overpriced testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs) and testing equipment involving the DOH, as exposed in Senate hearings last year.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the debate on face shields was prolonged by the lack of vaccines.

“We’ve been told to endure the inconvenience of face shields until we reach herd immunity,” Villanueva said in a statement.

He said the government must view the issue from the perspective that vaccines are still the solution to the pandemic.

“To say otherwise is to have a clearer picture blurred by the mist we have created on our own face shields. That’s why we can’t blame others to speculate that face shields are a huge racket or business,” Villanueva said.

He said the more people get vaccinated, “the sooner we get to drop our face shields, and even face masks, in certain conditions.”

In filing Senate Resolution 757, Sotto cited documents submitted by the DOH that showed reports from The Lancet and India about the efficacy of using face shields, “none of which proved to be conclusive.”

He also cited a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stated face shields are not effective in protecting oneself from respiratory droplets.

He also mentioned in his resolution a study from the American Journal of Infection Control that the combined protection of using masks and face shields was similar to just using masks alone.

He said governments of countries experiencing surges of the Delta variant of the virus still did not require the use of face shields.

“For the marginalized and poor, face shield is very costly for something that does not afford protection against the virus. Our people should rather invest in a proper mask that is scientifically proven to protect them from the virus,” Sotto said.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar yesterday urged people to report police officers not wearing face shields in public places.

Eleazar made the appeal as he vowed to sanction PNP personnel who are not wearing face shields on top of face masks.

“Just report it to us and we will make the necessary actions on our police not following protocols,” he said at a news briefing.

President Duterte has decided to require the wearing of face shields in both open and enclosed spaces following the recommendation of health experts who said the facial cover provides additional protection against new and more transmissible variants of COVID-19.

As police officers are mandated to implement health and safety protocols, Eleazar said they should be the first to follow the guidelines set by the government.

“It doesn’t look good if police themselves are not following this,” he said in Filipino. – Emmanuel Tupas

FACE SHIELD
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with