Donated test kits, PPEs saved Baguio millions in funds during pandemic — Magalong

BAGUIO CITY  – Millions worth of donated Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits and personal protection equipment (PPEs) saved the city government from having to spend its own funds for these pandemic essentials, Mayor Benjamin Magalong bared Dec. 23.

The mayor said that in the course of the pandemic, the city had received approximately 170,000 in test kit donations with cost estimate of P500 million.

Magalong said not a single centavo was spent by the local government for these test kits which he said were shared with municipalities and provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

For PPEs, the city government got to spend only around P20 million as a lot of donations were also received from public and private donors with approximate cost of P100 million.

A big part of these donated items were also distributed to Cordillera provinces and to private hospitals.

The mayor said these donations helped fuel the city’s COVID-29 fight, testing being one of the major strategies adopted by the city to counter the disease.

Aside from test kits and PPEs, the mayor also managed to solicit donations crucial medical equipment like polymerase chain reaction machines and automated extraction machines, funds for the putting up and operation of quarantine and isolation units and others from both public agencies and private individuals and groups.

The city’s expenses for the COVID-19 operations were drawn from the P78 million assistance received from the national government.

City Accountant Antonio Tabin said the disbursement of the funds received was in accordance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act guidelines.

The city appropriated P150 million from its own funds for the COVID operations culled from savings from the Local Development Fund for unimplemented projects in the previous years which were found to be not feasible anymore.

But since the city received at lot of donations, only a small amount was also used for COVID-related expenses.

City officials then decided to use the P100 million of said amount for its economic stimulus package program which will provide loans to micro, small and medium enterprises to help them bounce back from the effects of the health crisis. – Aileen P. Refuerzo