Duterte on plastic face shields: ‘How can it expire?’

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte wondered why the expiration date of the face shields becomes an issue at the Senate inquiry into the medical supplies procured by the government from the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

In his prerecorded Talk to the People Monday night, Duterte said plastics, even the non-medical-grade ones, would take long time before expiring.

“Paano ito mag-expire. Unless abusuhin mo, itapon-tapon mo. Pero kung isuot mo lang at ilagay mo lang ng magandang pagkalagay. Paano mag expire yan? Mag-expire siguro but 10, 15 years. (How can it expire? Unless you abuse it, throw it around. But if you will just wear it and place it properly. How can it expire? It will expire maybe but it will take 10, 15 years),” Duterte said while showing a piece of medical-grade face shield procured by the Department of Health from the Pharmally.

He said the face shields may “expire because of scratches.”

“Eh kung maalagaan mo lang ‘yan, matagal ‘yan (If you take care of it, it would last for a long time),” he added.

Meanwhile, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the face shields that were mentioned during the Senate hearing were medical-grade ones with foam brick and garter, that have a shelf life of about 36 months.

The DOH procured the face shields and other medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPEs) through the Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

Duque noted all medical supplies procured by the DOH have gone through inspection in terms of quality and quantity.

He said all supplies must be in accordance with the agency’s technical specifications.

“Hindi po natin tinanggap ang mga supplies ng hindi po ini-inspect ng ating pong DOH inspection team (We are not accepting supplies without the scrutiny of our DOH inspection team),” he said.

The PS-DBM also has its own supply inspection team, he added.In her testimony during the Senate hearing, Pharmally executive Krizle Grace Mago said the firm has altered the expiration date of the government-procured face shields, changing it from 2020 to 2021. (PNA)