DOH welcomes Ombudsman’s move to investigate dep’t anomalies in COVID-19 response

MANILA, June 17- The Department of Health (DOH) said it welcomes the Office of the Ombudsman’s probe on alleged anomalies of the department on its COVID-19 response and will comply with all the directives.

In a statement released this afternoon, “the DOH has been transparent in the COVID-19 response, including procurement transactions and the provision of benefits to healthcare workers.”

The department said it explained and issued all checks to the kins of 32 fallen healthcare workers and 19 severe COVID19 patients who recovered last June 9.

“New claims to said benefits are being processed to this day,” DOH said.

“The President has also ordered the National Bureau of Investigation last May 26 to investigate the issues raised on the procurement of PPEs, machines, and testing kits by the Procurement Service- Department of Budget and Management,” the department explained.

The health agency said they regularly report the cases and deaths through its pressers, situation reports, and in its tracker, which are publicly available on the official channels.

They also religiously informed the public for corrections and clarifications raised by all sectors as it continues to validate all submitted data.

Earlier this day, Ombudsman Samuel Martires has ordered probing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, officials, and other DOH employees about the alleged irregularities on the agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office of the Ombudsman will investigate the purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health, and news reports about the use of UP invented test kits.

Two more investigating teams will focus on the delayed procurement of personal protective equipment and other medical gear for healthcare workers, and alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers and the rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson said they respect the Office of the Ombudsman in investigating Secretary Francisco Duque III and other health officials on “the alleged irregularities in the COVID-19 response” in respect to its move as an independent constitutional body. (by STANLEY BUENAFE GAJETE / PHOTO COURTESY: PHILIPPINE STAR) 

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