Long shopping list, under-calculated budget: the City Health’s Office’ proposed purchases (Part 3 of 5)

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  • Two items in the CHO proposed budget appear to have been calculated wrongly
  • The supposed “overpriced” Vitamin C is described as “sodium ascorbate with zinc” and will be bought by the box at P2,250, not P2,500 as Gamboa had said earlier
  • The approved allocated budget for CHO is short by at least P6 million based on the independent calculation of DNX

Editors Note: This initiative of DNX to look into how the realigned P113 million for COVID response Annual Investment Programs will be spent came about after questions were raised over the estimated P2,250 price for Vitamin C. This five-part series includes, among others, an item by item breakdown of the proposed expenses from four offices – Disaster Risk Reduction Management, City Health, City Engineers and the Department of Social Services and Development.

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Among the four requesting offices under the City Mayor’s Office, it was the City Health Office that drew public attention to its budget, at least on social media, owing to the “expose” of lone opposition Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. that the CHO requested “sodium ascorbate with zinc” priced at P2,500.

Gamboa was reported by some members of the local press to have said that the CHO was buying Vitamin C at P2,500 each. [READ also: MONEY WATCH | Beyond the P2,250 Vitamin C: Breaking down the COVID annual investment programs for 2020 (Part 1 of 5)]

A check at the documents, made publicly available by the city council and copies of which were first furnished DNX by Gamboa, showed the only request under the “medicines” item of the CHO was “sodium ascorbate vitamin C with zinc 500 mg/10 mg film coated tab” with a volume of 2,000 boxes at P2,250 per box or a total estimated price at P4,500,000 based on the list titled “Supplies needed for COVID19” submitted by City Health administrative officer Eleah D. Malapitan and City Health Officer Ma. Carmela Gensoli.

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The list was first submitted, and approved, by the City Development Council that deliberates on and approves the Annual Investment Programs of the city.

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Thirty-three items were on the list divided into four sections – medical supplies, IT equipment, other supplies, and medicines.

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Of the four sections, “other items” had the highest budget – P10,376,250 followed by medical supplies at P6,345,000, IT equipment at P1,192,800, and medicines at P4,500,000. [READ also: MONEY WATCH | Beyond the P2,250 Vitamin C: Breaking down the COVID annual investment programs for 2020 (Part 2 of 5)]

The highest priced item per unit is the laptop computer at P68,000 per unit while the ziplock pill plastic is the lowest priced per unit at P120.

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UNDERCALCULATED

The total requested budget approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod on 31 August 2020 for the CHO was P22,504,050, the same amount endorsed by the CDC.

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DNX did a separate calculation of the submitted requests of the four offices by items by multiplying the unit price with the quantities requested.

In the CHO budget, DNX noticed differences in two items – “developer” under the other supplies section that was listed as “100pcs x 4,180” that was calculated by the CHO to be P501,600.

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The DNX computation, however, done on an Excel file, showed a product of only P418,000 or a difference of P83,600.

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The significant difference, however, was in the item “garbage bag XXL pack/100s” priced at P1,200 per pack for 5,000 packs.

The CHO request was only computed to be P6,000 but using the automated Excel multiplication formula, the recomputed product for 5,000 packs at P1,200 per pack was P6,000,000.

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This means a difference of P5,994,000.

The recomputed sub total for “other items,” therefore is supposed to be P16,286,650.

Computed correctly, the CHO budget should be P28,414,450 instead of P22,504,050.

This means the approved CHO budget is short by P5,910,400.

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