Given that the Department of Health is overwhelmed with work concerning the health concerns of the nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Administrative Order No. 27 for the orderly and swift distribution of personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and equipment to hospitals, other beneficiary facilities, groups and establishments.
It tasked the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to consolidate, make an inventory of, allocate and distribute donated medical supplies and products, including PPEs, received by the any department, office or bureau in order that the Department of Health may focus on its work given its limited personnel and access to transport vehicles. The OCD is assisted by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and his department, as they have the discipline, the personnel and the transport facilities to effect their deliveries to all the hospitals in the shortest possible time.
There is a false information being circulated that Administrative Order No. 27 was issued to provide Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go an avenue where he can manage the donations and be given credit for the same. There is also an untrue news that the importation of medical and health items into the country meant for donation are being put on hold at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) until the good senator places his name to the packages prior to their release and distribution.
The spread of these fake information is malicious and obviously done by the negative forces and detractors of the Duterte Administration and its allies, designed to create confusion and foment hate against the government.
Senator Go has no access to OCD. And even if he has, by reason of his position, he will not interfere with the task of the OCD, such interference being out of his character. Nor will Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana allow an intrusion from the outside regarding the work of the Office of the Civil Defense. Senator Go has his own group of friends who are giving and receiving donations, and delivering them straight to their intended beneficiaries.
The Bureau of Customs, on the other hand, is doubling its efforts in order to fast-track the entry of donated items so that it may reach health facilities with dispatch.
The national government is not dissuading private organizations and individuals to receive or give donations to hospitals of their choice, as well as to their local government units. They are in fact encouraged as every help from all sectors are welcome. Administrative Order No. 27 does not prohibit nor discourage such acts. It is meant to streamline the process of donations to the national government in order that health items may timely reach the intended facilities and beneficiaries.
The Palace asks netizens to be circumspect in reading text messages or posts they see in their social media feeds. Re-posting or spreading them by word of mouth make them similarly liable for transgression of the law.
Let us all unite, not only in action and prayers in defeating this faceless enemy, but also in nipping in the bud any false news or bogus narrative from spreading.
Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson