President Rodrigo Duterte warned businesses against profiteering and hoarding essential medical equipment as the country battles the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
He gave orders to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the allegations that a local supplier had been overpricing COVID-19 testing kits and machines, and delayed the delivery of these medical equipment to the country.
“Alam mo, itong mga p*t*ng*n*ng negosyanteng ito, it’s really an issue of humanity and their greed. ‘Yung hoarding ano, you cannot, it’s part of the business practices which you may call not even obnoxious, it’s repulsive to the human mind when you start to think about it,” he said.
Despite this tirade, Duterte emphasized that the administration will tackle the issue in a legal manner.
“But let’s look at it on what it is legally, sans the maybe ‘yung mga suspicion,” he said. “If the NBI has the probable cause, then go ahead. I still believe in what accrues to, accruing to government people working, the presumption of regularity in the performance of duties,” he added.
It was Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin who brought to light the issue of a local supplier selling overpriced COVID-19 testing kits and machines.
Garin said last week in a speech before House members that a couple she tagged as “V.E.” were claiming to be the exclusive distributors of testing kits and machines in the Philippines.
She said that the local supplier also padded the cost of these medical equipment by up to three times the manufacturers’ price and had been hoarding the testing kits and machines.