COA reports

Cebu City sidesteps requirements in purchase of rapid test kits – COA

Lorraine Ecarma

File photo of a rapid antibody test for COVID-19.

The Cebu City government says the deficiencies were not intentional

The Commission on Audit (COA) 2020 audit report flagged Cebu City for sidestepping multiple procurement requirements in the purchase of rapid antibody test kits amounting to P42,585,000.

“Various documentary requirements and procedures were not observed in the procurement of 1,670 boxes of Rapid antibody test kits totaling P42,585,000.00 contrary to Government Procurement Policy Board Circular 01-2020 dated April 6, 2020, thus negotiation under the said emergency procurement modality may not be achieved,” said the audit report.

Copies of the report were distributed to media before it was posted in the COA website because it was included in the city council’s agenda for its July 14 regular session.

In the 259-page report, state auditors said that supplier Novus Avenir Pharmaceuticals was only certified by the Food and Drug Administration in July of 2020 – two months after the purchase of the items in May 2020.

COA observed that the receipt of the purchase order and the delivery of the products were recorded on the same day in May 4, 2020. This was an impossible feat COA noted because of the geographical and logistical limitations.

“Same-day delivery is not possible since the supplier is from Marilao, Bulacan. There being no airport in Bulacan, travel destination would be from Bulacan to Manila by land and Manila to Cebu by plane,” the document read.

The Agency Procurement Request in the transaction also lacked detailed description of the items which COA said posed the “risk of delivering wrong items.”

The supplier also failed to submit a Certificate of Distributorship or Dealership from its US-manufacturer CTK Biotech Inc. – a document needed to verify the authenticity of the product.

COA also noted that the city government failed to declare in the Government Procurement Policy Board’s online portal that the transaction was an emergency procurement under the Bayanihan Act. It also failed to account for the recipients of the rapid tests, naming only the offices these were distributed to.

These are only among the eight observations noted by COA in the city’s 2020 audit report.

Not intentional

In the management’s comment portion of the report, the city government said the deficiencies were not intentional and that “negotiations were already done” even before the supplier received the purchase order.

Rappler tried to contact Cebu Mayor Edgardo Labella, who boasted of Cebu City’s receipt of an “unmodified opinion” from COA in his official Facebook page earlier this week. We did not receive a reply as of posting. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.