Gov’t-supplied face shields in good condition, says DOH

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Gov�t-supplied face shields in good condition, says DOH
A woman is shown wearing a face shield.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health assured Saturday that face shields delivered to healthcare workers are in good condition following the admission of an official of the embattled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. that they tampered with expiration dates of the protective equipment being sold to the government.

“As far as DOH is concerned, whatever we were able to deliver to all of our healthcare workers are in good condition,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said partly in Filipino in a briefing over state TV.

Vergeire continued, “Hindi rin ho kami tumatanggap talaga ng may mga sira o ‘di kaya may mga ganyang klaseng discoloration o nasira na ‘yung foam.”

(We do not accept damaged face shields or ones with discolored or damaged foam.)

She explained that like all medical equipment, face shields also have expiry dates, by which parts of the protective equipment — like the foam that serves to make wearing face shields comfortable — deteriorate.

But she also said that while face shields do expire, expired face shields do not necessarily pose a danger to those who wear them.

“Kailangan siyempre kumpleto at saka maayos ang maibigay po sa kanilang mga gamit para sila ay protektado sa sakit,” Vergeire said.

(It’s important that the equipment we give them is complete and in good condition so that they are protected against disease.)


A warehouse employee of Pharmally testified at the Senate on Friday that the company instructed them to change the manufacturing dates of face shields, effectively tampering with their shelf life.

This practice was confirmed by Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago, who said this was due to “supply issues” and was done on the orders of Pharmally corporate secretary and treasurer Mohit Dargani.

Dargani denied this and said he only recalled Mago asking other executives in the group chat if the practice was advisable. But Mago countered that she would have only acted upon instruction from a higher-up.

Pharmally, a small company established in 2019 with a paid-up capital of just P625,000, bagged bulk of the government’s contracts for pandemic supplies worth P8.68 billion.

Individuals with close ties to President Rodrigo Duterte have been swept up in the controversy, including his former economic adviser Micheal Yang, who acted as Pharmally's financier and guarantor to Chinese suppliers.

Under scrutiny too is Lloyd Christopher Lao, a former election lawyer of Duterte, who was head of the PS-DBM when a bulk of the contracts were first awarded to the firm. — with a report by Bella Perez-Rubio

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