CIDG collars peddlers of face COVID-19 test kits

Elements of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) on Tueday collared 10 individuals allegedly involved in the illegal selling of COVID-19 test kits. The suspects were arrested in an entrapment operation around 11 a.m. in Scout Bayoran Street in Barangay South Triangle after selling 30 boxes of Clungene rapid test kits worth […] The post CIDG collars peddlers of face COVID-19 test kits appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource: tribune tribuneApr 13th, 2021

PNP nabs 2 online sellers of COVID-19 test kits

BY MARTIN A. SADONGDONG Two men who were illegally selling coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits online have been arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Sta. Cruz, Manila, the Philippine National Police (PNP) bared Friday. Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, director of the PNP-CIDG, identified the […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMar 26th, 2021

Ombudsman vindicates

Ombudsman Samuel Martires has found probable cause to file graft charges against former Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management, or PS-DBM, officials and Pharmally executives over Covid-19 purchases. Graft buster Martires, thus, is seeking reforms to the procurement law amid the PS-DBM controversy. The move of the Ombudsman vindicated the eight-part series of this column entitled: “PS-DBM is a catastrophe.” The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause to file graft charges against former PS-DBM undersecretary Lloyd Cristopher Lao, former PS-DBM procurement group director and now Overall Deputy Ombudsman Warren Rex Liong, and other officials for their involvement in the irregular procurement of Covid-19 test kits from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation. The 14 August 2023 decision signed by Martires called for the filing of three graft charges against Lao, Liong, and PS-DBM Procurement Management Officer Paul Jasper de Guzman and Pharmally executives Mohit Dargani, Lincoln Ong, Huang Tsu Yen and Justin Garado. Martires wants the PS-DBM abolished for, according to him, corrupt practices. The PS-DBM was created during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to solve the problem of supplies but this was abused, Martires noted. Now do not mistake an audit observation memorandum for an annual audit report. An AOM contains observations that auditors want a particular government agency to explain, justify and substantiate with documents within 60 to 90 days. Hence, it is preliminary and tentative finding that may be explained in the course of an audit. It is when the AOM is not satisfactorily explained or justified that the Commission on Audit considers it a finding and it would be put in the annual audit report, which is published and posted on the CoA website that  is accessible to the public. Martires made his unsolicited suggestion not to publish  AOMs during a House hearing on his office’s budget, saying that it would prevent the public from prejudging those involved. A regular provision in the yearly General Appropriations Act requires government agencies and state corporations to submit audited financial statements, annual audit reports and reports on the utilization of their funds to the Department of Budget and Management and Congress or to post these on their websites. The AOM came to public and global prominence when a compilation of audit observation memoranda, including the findings on the P67-billion DoH funds for Covid-19, was released as the annual audit report on the accounts and financial operations of the Department of Health for calendar year ending 31 December 2020. This drew an immediate public statement from former CoA commissioner Heidi Mendoza — from her exalted post as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations for Internal Control Oversight — saying that the CoA audit report had gone through the formal process of review and approval. This was reported by local media on 18 August 2021. The report, “Heidi Mendoza: Release of CoA findings on P67-billion DoH funds not premature,” brought her to global prominence, showing indeed that she was a “glorified incompetent.” The assertion globally by Mendoza that the release of AOMs as audit reports was not premature did not sit well with the rank and file of the CoA. Retired and senior auditors of the commission opined that the sudden emergence of Heidi Mendoza, Grace Pulido Tan and Michael Aguinaldo, who refused to obey the president, and Senators Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Richard Gordon and Kiko Pangilinan who were the discordant choral voices against the government was part of a grand conspiracy to embarrass President Duterte before the president of the United States and the whole world and to destabilize his administration. There are many other valid reasons why AOMs should not be published. (To be continued) The post Ombudsman vindicates appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

‘No evidence of plunder vs PS-DBM, Pharmally execs’

There is no evidence to prove plunder had been committed in the anomalous awarding of P4.165-billion supply contracts for COVID-19 test kits to Pharmally Corp., Ombudsman Samuel Martires said yesterday, defending his office’s resolution to charge officials involved in the deal only with the bailable offense of graft......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 29th, 2023

Clip OWWA’s wings

As the pandemic is over, the Commission on Audit should go into a more detailed scrutiny of the huge amount that the government allotted to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration totaling P17.36 billion in the Emergency Repatriation Fund or ERF. State auditors did not question the use of the ERF and even commended OWWA for the use of the fund in response to the coronavirus plague. As a result of the urgency of the situation and the provisions of the Bayanihan laws exempting purchases from the Government Procurement Reform Act, the CoA did not have the full accounting arsenal to look into the purchases. The huge amount involved and the previous experiences with the OWWA should require a double-check. According to the CoA 2022 report, of the P17,367,559,655.88 OWWA received for the ERF, P17,367,559,406.09 or 99.9999986  percent was utilized for accommodations, transportation, financial assistance, and other Covid-19 incidental expenses of repatriated overseas Filipino workers or OFWs. In several instances, OWWA even exceeded its budgeted ERF and had to draw from the succeeding year’s budget. CoA indicated that P2.3 billion was used to pay for expenses incurred in 2020 that were not covered by that year’s budget. The overshoot increased to P5.035 billion for 2021 since CoA said the expenses were not obligated and were paid through the 2022 budget. CoA, initially in the 2020 report that looked into 2019 transactions not covered by the Bayanihan law’s procurement law exemptions, questioned the purchase of hygiene kits and sanitary napkins totaling P822,420 from  a construction store in Pasay City “which cannot be found in the address stated.” Upon further probe by the CoA, it was found that the supposed hardware store was fictitious and the address was that of a private residence. Then OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac had a hard time explaining the purchase of the feminine kits from a hardware store, more so that it couldn’t be found at the address. CoA also found that the procured hygiene kits, which were not itemized, were outrageously priced at P160 each, while the sanitary napkins were priced at up to P35 per pad. Cacdac promised an internal investigation which was something that was lost in the swirl of the global emergency that erupted in early 2020. That was when the ERF was bolstered with allocations from the national budget and Bayanihan laws 1 and 2. The ERF was extensively used previously to repatriate OFWs from war zones. According to the CoA 2022 report, of the P17.37 billion ERF, P13.3 billion was used for hotel accommodations, P449 million for food, P3.6 billion for travel expenses, P9.7 million for subsidies, P5.5 million for supplies, P2.4 million for hospitalization, drugs and medicine, P15.1 million for cremation services, and P90,200 for other expenses. OWWA, in a long-winded acknowledgment of the initial CoA clearance of the use of the funds, was quick to give credit to its suppliers who, it said, “were a huge help to us in the government in extending help to all Filipinos.” It then concluded, without CoA’s express acknowledgment, that the ”payables in 2020 are legal.” Several of the items in the ERF, however, would have to be checked as returning workers during the pandemic did not benefit from the program as they had to pay through their noses the hotel bills and other myriad health processes during the quarantine period as the pandemic raged. No one could recall travel expenses being paid for by OWWA to bring those in distress home. Even the pernicious nasal tests had to come out of the pockets of the migrant workers, at an overprice, as some had to shell out P10,000 for a single test. Also, overspending the ERF budget for a year should be checked since OWWA collects billions of pesos yearly with its membership fee of $25 paid every two years by each OFW. The catch in the OWWA collections is that you’ll never know the privileges and benefits due a member unless you spend time researching it which the busy migrant workers don’t have. OWWA membership is mandatory as the fee is a required item on the departure slip of an OFW. Most overseas workers will attest that they never interacted with CoA unless it involved the payment of fees and, of course, making them go through the expensive quarantine process during the health emergency. There was a plan to abolish the OWWA since its functions overlap with agencies such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency and the Department of Labor and Employment. It is time to hold an earnest review of the abolition proposal. The post Clip OWWA’s wings appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 25th, 2023

DBM imposes penalties on Pharmally-linked officials

The Department of Budget and Management on Thursday said it has started enforcing penalties against seven officials who were sued by the Office of the Ombudsman for irregular purchase of P4-billion COVID-19 testing kits from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation. DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said she already ordered DBM Executive Director Dennis Santiago to impose penalties for graft charges against former DBM undersecretary Christopher Lao. The other six are Warren Liong, Paul Jasper de Guzman, Webster Laurenana, August Ylagan, Jasonmer Uayan and Christine Marie Suntay. Their penalties include forfeiture of all retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service and fines worth their one-year salaries. “DBM holds steadfast in its commitment to uphold the principles of transparency, good governance, accountability and strict adherence to the rule of law,” Pangandaman said. The Office of the Ombudsman released its decision on 14 August which found Lao et al. conspired to secure the purchase of the COVID-19 testing kits in three transactions in 2020 despite their disadvantages. “Respondents' concerted and conspiratorial acts enabled the award of a multibillion worth of contract to Pharmally notwithstanding the existence of other corporations that are financially and technically capable to supply and deliver test kits at an equal or lower prices," the Ombudsman said. The post DBM imposes penalties on Pharmally-linked officials appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2023

Manila employees’ drug test deadline set

The local government of Manila has reminded city employees that they have until 28 July 2023 to submit themselves to mandatory drug testing or they may face possible insubordination. Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna stressed that the mandatory random drug testing is pursuant to a memo issued by the Civil Service Commission — the central personnel agency of the Philippine government responsible for the policies, plans and programs concerning all civil service employees. The drug testing is being implemented within City Hall at no cost to the city government employees. Lacuna and Vice Mayor Yul Servo have already undergone the drug testing, and they are encouraging other employees to do the same. “This is being continuously implemented for all employees. We have more than 8,000 drug testing kits, so all employees can undergo random drug testing. Your servant and Vice Mayor Yul Servo-Nieto have already undergone the test, as well as the department heads,” she added. The mayor also said that all departments, bureaus and offices within the City Hall have their respective schedules for their personnel’s mandatory random drug testing and those who fail to undergo the drug testing will be given memos to explain why they failed to submit themselves to the required drug test. “That’s why we are reminding everyone that you need to undergo drug testing. Those who do not undergo the test will be given a memo to explain why they did not. This is a basis for insubordination because we need to follow the rules because it is mandatory. If you have nothing to fear, then undergo drug testing,” Lacuna said. She added that employees have nothing to lose when they undergo the drug testing, and it will give the workers in each department, bureau and office the peace of mind knowing that they are working under a drug-free environment. She also said that those who will test positive for illegal drug use will be referred for confirmatory testing. Once confirmed, they will have to undergo rehabilitation as city officials and workers must serve as role models by staying away from vices, most especially illegal drugs. The post Manila employees’ drug test deadline set appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 25th, 2023

NAIA: Face masks no longer required for domestic passengers

In accordance with President Marcos' recent proclamation ending the state of public emergency, the Manila International Airport Authority announced the following revised guidelines: As part of the lifting of restrictions, the wearing of masks and practice of social distancing will no longer be mandatory in public places. Passengers may choose whether to wear face masks while inside the aircraft. Pursuant to a Department of Health advisory, arriving passengers will no longer be required to declare their vaccination records during the filling up of E-Travel. COVID-19 test results before departure from their point of origin will no longer be required from arriving passengers. However, procedures such as the screening of individuals exhibiting symptoms, including elevated temperatures as detected by thermal scanners, will still be enforced by the Bureau of Quarantine.   The post NAIA: Face masks no longer required for domestic passengers appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 24th, 2023

Above all, we need peace

It is a great honor to stand before you today to receive the Carlos V European Award. Naturally, I am well aware that this award is not for me alone. I am receiving it also on behalf of the entire United Nations, and for that reason I feel even prouder. Carlos V was not only an emperor but also a man — a man of contrasts.  Someone who represented, as few people could, both the progress as well as the challenges and constraints of his era. His reign contributed to the emergence of globalization, thanks in part to the first circumnavigation of the globe which, as you know, served to demonstrate that the Earth is a sphere. That circumnavigation was initially led by a compatriot of mine, Ferdinand Magellan, but was completed by a Spaniard, Juan Sebastián Elcano. We have just celebrated the 500th anniversary of that event. And since commemoration means bringing the past into the present, taking stock and seeing how we are faring, what better occasion to reflect on how much our planet has changed since then. Five centuries later, how would one go about explaining how our world has changed? No doubt he would be fascinated to see how Europe has changed, the union that has been achieved despite centuries of conflict. To see that today, on this continent and beyond, former enemies are now partners in trade, leadership and progress. But he would probably also be surprised to know that, today, those values are still being put to the test. That war is not a thing of the past. That divisions remain and are even growing. That we are burning down our only home. That families are being forced to flee — from war or extreme climate events — on a scale we have not seen in decades. That hunger and poverty are still with us. Yes, some things are difficult to explain — and even more difficult to excuse — to someone that lived more than 500 years ago. As we consider the complex legacy of Carlos V and the global nature of his empire, we can find inspiration to rediscover the universal values, principles and ideas that unite us as a human family. Never since the creation of the United Nations and the European Union have these values been so threatened. Therefore, we must raise our voices today and reaffirm those values. And above all, we need peace. The United Nations, as well as the European Union, were created in the name of peace, after the horror of two world wars. Peace remains our North Star and our most precious goal. Yet the struggle for peace may seem at times like a Sisyphean task. We live in a world today in which peace is elusive and fragile. Violence is rampant in too many corners of the globe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, is causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people and comes on top of the worldwide economic dislocation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Wars and humanitarian crises are spreading, sometimes before our very eyes, but often far from the spotlight. They are more complex, and interconnected, and their impact is growing by the day. Peace must never be underestimated or taken for granted.  We must work to make peace and to keep it, every day, tirelessly. In a world that is tearing itself apart, we must heal divisions, prevent escalation and listen to grievances. Instead of bullets, we need diplomatic arsenals. This is what is set out in the Charter of the United Nations. Negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration: We must try everything to settle our disputes by peaceful means. Of course, there will be lasting peace only if we achieve the full participation and leadership of women at the decision-making table. Now is the time to reaffirm the primacy of peace. Peace among people and peace with nature. Because the war we are waging against our planet is putting humanity’s very survival in danger. Climate chaos is unleashing fires, floods, drought, like here in Spain, and other extreme weather events on every continent. Each year these events are uprooting millions of people who often have to seek refuge in countries and communities that are equally vulnerable. We know that this exacerbates tensions and ignites conflicts. Taking action for our planet is taking action for peace. Hate speech, the polarization, racism and xenophobia are spreading at the speed of a mouse click. In the face of rising xenophobia, racism and extremism, we must defend our common humanity. Today more than ever, in our divided world, building bridges is the only option. *** Excerpts from the UN Secretary-General’s remarks to the Carlos V European Award, Yuste Monastery, Spain, 9 May 2023 The post Above all, we need peace appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 14th, 2023

Baguio health office opens Covid self-test reporting platform

BAGUIO CITY - To be able to assist those who use Covid-19 self-testing kits who turn positive for the virus, the health services office of the city government here has opened a platform that will allow an individual to report his condition.Aileen Refuerzo, chief city information officer, told the Philippin.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsAug 15th, 2022

COA flags Cebu City’s purchase of P90M COVID test kits, machine

CEBU CITY, Philippines – State auditors flagged down the purchase of RT-PCR test machine and kits, and Rapid Antibody Test Kits made by the Cebu City Government that amounted to around P90 million. This was contained in the 259-page 2020 Annual Audit Report for the City of Cebu that was recently released by the Commission […] The post COA flags Cebu City’s purchase of P90M COVID test kits, machine appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 14th, 2021

DOH sends more COVID-19 vaccines to Taal evacuation centers

The national government also distributed antigen test kits to evacuation centers......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 5th, 2021

Illegal online sale of unregistered COVID-19 capsules and test kits uncovered; 100 boxes seized in Barangay Apas raid

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Around 100 boxes of capsules believed to be medicines for COVID-19 as well as rapid test kits valued at P200,000 were confiscated from a 25-year-old man during an entrapment operation in San Antonio Village in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, past 4 p.m. today, June 25. Police Major Glen Hife, chief of […] The post Illegal online sale of unregistered COVID-19 capsules and test kits uncovered; 100 boxes seized in Barangay Apas raid appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJun 25th, 2021

3 caught with P4 million COVID-19 test kits

Around P4 million worth of unregistered COVID-19 rapid test kits were confiscated from three persons in Parañaque City on Tuesday, the Philippine National Police reported yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 14th, 2021

Rapid test kits peddled in Parañaque

Three individuals were collared for illegal sale of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) rapid test kits in Parañaque City on Thursday. Based on the report of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, arrested in an entrapment operation in Barangay Don Bosco on Tuesday were Ace Dimaplis, Charisse Purino and Aldrin Bacaran. The operation stemmed from reports […] The post Rapid test kits peddled in Parañaque appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 13th, 2021

2 face raps over fake COVID-19 test results

Two women are facing charges in Pasay for allegedly falsifying a COVID-19 test result, an official said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 4th, 2021

India Covid-19 deaths surge again, more global aid flown in

India's coronavirus disaster deepened on Thursday with its daily death toll climbing above 3,600, as more international aid was flown in with the United States sending nearly one million test kits......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 29th, 2021

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in BuCor down to 14, but over 100 inmates, personnel test positive on antigen kits

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Bureau of Corrections are down to 14, but the agency is seeking donation of more antigen test kits as more than a hundred inmates and personnel test positive on these test kits and remain in isolation......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsApr 15th, 2021

2 online sellers ng Covid-19 test kits arestado sa Maynila

Nabitag ng mga tauhan ng Philippine National Police–Criminal Investigation and Detection Group ang dalawang lalaki na nagbebenta online ng Covid-19 test kits. Base sa ulat, sina Stephen Reyes at Patrick Jimenez ay nahuli sa Sta. Cruz, Maynila matapos maberipika sa Food and Drug Administration (FDA) na ipinagbabawal ang pagbebenta ng Covid-19 Antibody Test Kit. Isang […] The post 2 online sellers ng Covid-19 test kits arestado sa Maynila appeared first on Bandera......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 27th, 2021

DepEd Bicol receives P1-million worth of COVID-19 rapid test kits from CSCCI

DepEd Bicol receives P1-million worth of COVID-19 rapid test kits from CSCCI.....»»

Category: newsSource:  bicolstandardRelated NewsMar 14th, 2021

FDA: Online sale of COVID-19 test kits prohibited

The online sale of coronavirus disease test kits remains “strictly prohibited,” the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday as the Philippine Red Cross urged the public to exercise “extraordinary diligence” in getting checked for infection......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMar 5th, 2021