Duque: Govt must receive restitution if Pharmally-supplied face shields are proven tampered

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) – The government must receive restitution if the face shields it procured from controversial firm Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. are proven tampered, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday.

"Kung ito ay may pandaraya ng Pharmally, kailangang bawiin ng gobyerno sa kumpanyang ‘yan ‘yung isang taon na kanilang tinamper [If the face shields were tampered by Pharmally, the government must claim money from that company for the one year that they tampered the expiration date]," Duque told President Rodrigo Duterte during the latter's weekly national address.

Duque said he ordered the Department of Health's Procurement and Supply Chain Office to re-inspect the face shields, which Pharmally official Krizle Grace Mago alleged were tampered, during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing last Sept. 24.

RELATED: Pharmally official admits firm changed expiration dates for face shields 

Mago said the expiration dates of the face shields were changed from 2020 to 2021.

"’Yung isang taon na kanilang tinamper, magkaroon ng restitution sa gobyerno ‘yung halaga ng face shield [The one year that they tampered, the government must receive restitution for the cost of the face shields]," the Health Secretary said.

During the address, Duterte asked Duque if face shields have an expiration date.

"Paano ito mag-expire? Unless abusuhin mo, itapon-tapon mo. Pero kung isuot mo lang at ilagay mo nang magandang pagkalagay, paanong mag-expire yan? Mag-expire ‘yan dahil sa scratches, dahil sa hindi pag-alaga," the President said.

[Translation: How will it expire? Unless you abuse it or throw it around. But if you just wear and store it properly, how will it expire? It will expire due to scratches, because of neglect.]

Duque explained that the foam on top of medical-grade face shields procured by the government can last up to 36 months.

He demonstrated how the foam is placed against the eyebrows when wearing the face shield, adding that the foam's garter easily gets brittle.

"Hindi po natin tinatanggap ang mga supplies nang hindi ini-inspect ng ating DOH inspection team [We do not accept supplies without being inspected by the DOH inspection team]," Duque assured.

The Senate will resume on Thursday its probe of the government's alleged anomalous purchase of medical supplies for its COVID-19 pandemic response.