On 31 March 2020, the Office of the President issued Administrative Order No. 27, entitled "Establishing a Framework for the Acceptance, Management, Distribution and Delivery of all Medicines, Medical Equipment and Supplies, and Other Health Products Donated to the National Government or the Department of Health for Addressing the COVID-19 Situation." ("Administrative Order")
Why this affects you
Under Philippine law, there is a general prohibition against the giving of gifts or anything of value to public officers or employees. However, the Administrative Order expressly recognizes that the outpouring of donations of medical supplies and basic necessities to support public health workers "are acts that are not intended to gain favors or to influence government action but are acts of altruism and generosity." The Administrative Order provides that donations of health products, perishable goods, and goods of nominal value to government institutions and public officers and employees are allowed, subject to the rules discussed below.
What the law says
Donation of Health Products to the National Government and Department of Health
Under the Administrative Order, all donations to the National Government or the Department of Health of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and other health products (collectively, "Health Products") intended to address the COVID-19 situation, from foreign governments, private entities, non-governmental organizations, or any group or individuals (collectively, Donors) should be coordinated with, and transmitted to, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)1. The OCD shall then prepare an inventory of these donations and consolidate them, in order to determine which health facilities, beneficiary groups, or public or private establishments are in need thereof.
Donation of Health Products to Other Government Agencies and Instrumentalities
Donors may still directly donate Health Products to other departments, bureaus, offices, state colleges or universities (SUCs), government owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs), or government hospitals or medical facilities.
The recipients must immediately report these direct donations to the OCD. The OCD may then reallocate such direct donations to health facilities, beneficiary groups or public or private establishments in greater need thereof, if deemed necessary to attain the declared national policy under RA No 11469, otherwise known as the "Bayanihan to Heal as One Act"; and if approved by the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.
Donation of Perishable Goods and Goods of Nominal Value
The following solicited or unsolicited donations to public officials or employees who are health workers for purposes of dealing with COVID-19, including those working at the frontlines in the implementation of the community quarantine and ensuring the flow of critical goods, within the duration of the present State of Calamity, shall continue to be allowed:
- perishable goods such as food items; and
- goods of nominal value such as:
- accommodation or transportation to and from the residence and workplace,
- other basic necessities for their use and consumption.
As such, the foregoing donations do not need to be coordinated with or transmitted to the OCD; and the recipient does not need to report them to the OCD.
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*Authored by Quisumbing Torres, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein. Please contact QTInfoDesk@quisumbingtorres.com for inquiries.
1 The OCD was established under RA No 10121 or the "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010" and has the primary mission of administering a comprehensive national civil defense and disaster risk reduction and management program. The OCD is also tasked, among others to create an enabling environment for substantial and sustainable participation of civil society organizations, private groups, volunteers, and communities.