Janairo debunks overpriced purchase claims of ambulances for Calabarzon

Janairo debunks overpriced purchase claims of ambulances for Calabarzon

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH)-CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Director Eduardo Janairo today debunked claims of overpricing on the purchase of ambulances and medical equipment for the region that was raised during the most recent Senate hearing on health.

To this effect, Janairo sent Secretary Francisco T. Duque a letter clarifying the issue regarding the alleged overpriced purchase of ambulances and equipment for Calabarzon health centers and hospitals.
We are publishing in toto Janairo’s letter to Sec. Duque:

 The HON. FRANCISCO T. DUQUE, MD, MSc

Secretary

Department of Health

Dear Sir,

Greetings!

The Center for Health Development-Calabarzon (CHD) strictly adheres to the provision of RA 9184 in conducting its procurement of goods and equipment. The Bids and Awards Committee of this Office reviewed all the submitted bid documents taking into considerations with due diligence the legal, technical and financial capabilities of all participating bidders before declaring the lowest calculated bid. In all processes, the Commission on Audit (COA) of this Office was present to observe the process. Thus, in 2019, there was no Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) / COA Findings on the procurement.In the recent Senate Hearing regarding the alleged “overpricing of ambulance”, CHD-Calabarzon would like to emphasize that in the procurement of ambulances which were distributed within its Region, the BAC Committee used the Lot or Package Category with the Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) of Php 245,000,000.00 (Annex 1 Posting). In CHD Calabarzon, the contract was awarded to the lowest calculated bid with a total cost of Php 2,298,000.00 per unit taking into consideration its strict compliance with all the legal, financial, and published technical specifications of medical devices and other equipment to be installed and included in each ambulance (Annex 2 Technical Specification).  Hence, with the total bid cost of Php 2,298,000.00 which is lower than Php 245,000,000.00, the allegation of overpricing is unfounded.
It should be noted that among the 16 CHDs, Calabarzon was ranked 4th in the lowest bid price for ambulances. After examination of all the documents submitted by all prospective bidders nationwide, almost all the participants bid cost ranges from Php 2,190,000.00-2,400,000.00.

Another issue that was mentioned was the “overpricing of equipment”. To repeat, the procurement was “Lot or Package Category” and not a Line Item, in which the Bids and Awards Committee examined the totality of the bid price and not the individual items included thereto. Accordingly, this Office also focused on warranty, certification, licenses, technical support and additional insurance included in total bid price for one ambulance together with its accessories and not on the price of each medical device and equipment thereto.

Unfortunately, during the Senate Hearing, Sen. Lacson presented retail price of some medical devices and compared it with the 2019 Land Ambulance Market Study. The said 2019 Market Study was conducted after the First Scheduled Bidding last November 14, 2019, which was declared “failure”. The “Bid for DOH 4A” was taken from consolidated prices of previous bidding conducted by the Office. The second bidding conducted last December 10, 2019, the award for procurement ambulance was awarded based on the total bid cost as provided in the “Lot or Package Category”.

In order to check the veracity of the presentation of Honorable Senator Lacson, this Office recently requested the line-item price of each piece of equipment included in the previously awarded ambulance from the Supplier, which was not considered and shown during the presentation of medical equipment. Copy of which was also submitted to the Office of the Honorable Senator. To illustrate:

a.       Automatic External Defibrillator

2019 Land Ambulance Market StudyRetail Price (presented by Sen. Lacson)Cost by the Winning bidder
165,000.0096,500.00155,000.00

b.       Ambulance Stretcher

2019 Land Ambulance Market StudyRetail Price (presented by Sen. Lacson)Cost by the Winning bidder
45,000.0023,800.0045,000.00

c.       Two (2) Cellular phone with Sim Cards

2019 Land Ambulance Market StudyRetail Price (presented by Sen. Lacson)Cost by the Winning bidder
30,000.007,988.0018,000.00

d.      Dashboard Camera with Memory Card

2019 Land Ambulance Market StudyRetail Price (presented by Sen. Lacson)Cost by the Winning bidder
15,000.004,500.0015,000.00

·         Attached pictures of equipment

Although it shows that the retail price of the above-mentioned items shown during the hearing was lower than the cost by the winning bidder, there are still other equipment not presented which have minimal mark-up prices after considering overhead, logistics and warehousing, taxes and cost of money.

On the number of equipment included in each turn-over ambulance, Sen. Lacson mentioned that only 21 out of 30 equipment were received by each local government unit. This Office really intends to deliver the ambulance with 30 complete equipment after the submission of each LGU the documentary requirements such as Deed of Donation duly signed, Sanggunian Resolution, Name of Point Person and Training Certificate of drivers, nurses and doctors. However, due to the clamor and appeal of the Local Chief Executives and Congressmen to immediately release the ambulances for their COVID-19 response, this Office was compelled to turn over the ambulance and withhold temporarily specific equipment that requires training like Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) because this is a skill training. This information was explained thoroughly to all recipients during the turn-over ceremony.  As of this day, the 98 recipients already received that the complete 30 equipment. (Annex 3. Certification of City Health Officer/Municipal Health Officer)

With above explanation, this Office hopes and prays that the Honorable Senator will be clarified that there were no overpricing of ambulance and equipment procured by the Department of Health especially the Central and all ambulances were completely delivered and used by the LGU to aid their people and help save lives. More so, as of this writing, this Office has not received any complaints and reported malfunction of devices and ambulance itself. The Commission on Audit recognizes the full delivery of said ambulance including its equipment as there was no findings relative thereto.

Rest assured that the Center for Health Development-Calabarzon will continue its commitment to provide assistance to all hospitals, local government units and community in fighting against this pandemic.

Sincerely,

EDUARDO C. JANAIRO, MD, MPH, CESO IIIRegional Director
(ai/mtvn)

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