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COVID-19 response fund reports sent to Pacquiao

HEALTH SECRETARY Francisco T. Duque III on Thursday said he has submitted to Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao the reports on the use of funds received by the department for the coronavirus response.

“Lahat po itong mga report na ito pinadala ko na kagabi kay (I have sent all these reports last night to) Senator Manny Pacquiao,” Mr. Duque told ABS-CBN News Channel.

Mr. Pacquiao, acting president of the ruling party PDP-Laban, has been in a squabble with a faction of their political group supported by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the party chair.

The senator last week made allegations of corruption in government.

Mr. Duterte on Monday said he would campaign against Mr. Pacquiao in next year’s elections if he fails to identify the alleged corrupt officials.

The senator on Tuesday accepted the challenged and cited anomalies in the government’s purchase of rapid test kits, masks and other materials for the coronavirus pandemic. He also asked the Health department to account for expenditures.

Mr. Duque, in a statement on Tuesday, said the department was disheartened by the accusations and they are open to inquiries from legislators.

In Thursday’s interview, he said the procurement arm under the Budget department purchased the test kits, face masks and other supplies for the pandemic.

The Health chief also said that he talked on Wednesday to Budget Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher A. Lao, who said they are ready to show the budget utilization and transactions.

The funds for the vaccines coming from multilateral funding agencies go directly to the vaccine manufacturers, Mr. Duque added.

“If there is any hearing, we’ll be very glad to be there and show a full accounting of all the funds and budget that have been allocated to the DoH (Department of Health),” he said.

Palace Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr., meanwhile, said the administration complied with the reporting requirements provided under the Bayanihan laws.

“There was a regular reporting required by the law by itself which Malacañang complied with,” he told a news briefing Thursday. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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