No public funds spent for “tuob” kits — Gealon
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - July 14, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Legal Officer Rey Gealon said no public fund was spent for the steam inhalation or “tuob” kits distributed in some barangay isolation centers as these were donated by the supplier.

Gealon made the clarification a day after Mayor Edgardo Labella ordered an investigation into the procurement of “tuob” kits following suspicions that these may be overpriced.

"Libre nga gihatag ang mao nga tuob kits. Pasabot, way public fund ang na-appropriate alang niana. Way pundo, kwarta nga nigawas aron sa pagpamalit ining tuob kits," Gealon said.

Labella on Sunday said he will investigate how the city ended up buying “tuob” kits worth P2.5 million, considering that he and the City Council did not authorize the purchase.

The city government reportedly acquired 1,000 kits at P2,500 each and distributed the same to some BICs where asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are housed.

Each kit came with one electric water heater/steamer, a steam gown, an industrial plastic chair, an adult bath towel, two hand towels, and a water basin.

Gealon, however, admitted that the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) prepared the procurement papers in case the city would purchase "tuob" kits but the mayor did not give his permission.

He explained that even if the BAC prepared the documents in advance, the purchase is still subject to the approval of the mayor.

"BAC papers were just prepared in case no good samaritan would come out, but there was. So no harm done," said Gealon.

Gealon said Labella is firm in his stand that no money or fund from the city will be utilized for the purchase of "tuob" kits.

"Supporting the practice of 'tuob' and purchasing 'tuob kits' are different issues altogether. While the mayor may be into 'tuob' himself, but buying paraphernalia as 'tuob kits' cannot be countenanced by the mayor," said Gealon.

Councilor Jerry Guardo, who was instrumental in the acquisition of the kits, said he is willing to submit to an investigation.

"I also respect sa decision ni mayor... as far as I am concerned, ganahan ko makuan ang investigation para at least ma-clear sad akoang side. Mahatagan pud og katin-awan kay I have all the good intention sa pag-promote nako sa tuob. I just really wanted to help," said Guardo.

Guardo said the resolution passed jointly with Councilor Nestor Archival on May 11, 2020 only requested to study the benefits of steam inhalation therapy.

"Never did we mention request budget allocation or appropriations for the purchase of steam inhalation kit. Wala gyud mi mag-mention ana," he said.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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