MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered concerned government agencies to "ensure the speedy delivery" of essential medical supplies and equipment to health facilities as the country battles the fast-spreading coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"From the approval, importation and to the delivery, everything must go smoothly to make sure that we do not waste time," Duterte said in a national address.
The President urged concerned authorities to avoid "dilly-dallying" and "cut red tape" for fast delivery of medical supplies and equipment so transport vehicles can deliver their cargo unhampered.
"I do not want red tapes. I do not want so many questions. Pagka sinertify (certify) ng isang government employee ‘yan (If a government employee has certified it), I said, do not commit a mistake and we will all be happy and comfortable," Duterte said.
In a time when Philippine health institutions are running out of supplies due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, Duterte warned officials this not the time to commit illegal acts.
"Kung gusto ninyong magluko, huwag ngayon itong panahon na ito," he said.
(If you want to do something bad, now is not the time.)
Last week, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued a circular saying cargo owners are "virtually allowed" to get or deliver their cargoes without being impeded despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
Medical workers are exempted from the Luzon-wide expanded community quarantine, but many are forced to walk to their workplaces because public transport systems were shut down.
Many of them are also inadequately protected, with government hospitals seeking donations of face masks and other protective equipment.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines has recorded 552 cases of COVID-19, with 35 deaths and 20 recoveries, according to the Department of Health.