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PIA Press Release
2009/06/09

Huge cache of medicines dug up at Pangasinan capitol compound

Lingayen, Pangasinan (9 June) -- Huge quantities of assorted medicines were dug up from a three-meter deep closed pit inside the motor pool compound of the provincial engineering department after Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. was tipped off last week of the hidden cache.

Retired police Col. Paterno Orduña, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Center (PDCC), led the excavation on instructions of the governor.

In a press briefing, Orduña said the recovered items that included hundreds of dextrose intravenous gadgets were either fake, adulterated, expired or substandard items purchased by the previous provincial administration.

Emitting toxic smell that may cause air pollution Orduña's team disposed of the elements in a safe area. "I was instructed by the governor to locate and ascertain the site where the medicines were dumped and buried based on confidential information he received earlier," Orduña told reporters.

"Finally, last Saturday and Sunday, napin-point naming kung saan yung lugar na pinagbaunan at eto nga, nandyan sa corner. Ayon sa initial report na aming natanggap, ginamitan ng back hoe yung butas na pinagtapunan, at ang lalim daw nito ay lagpas sa dalawang tao," Orduña told the local media yesterday. He added, "We have information that it was done in haste. Gumamit sila ng truck at pick-up sa paghakot ng itinambak na mga gamot dito at ilang beses bumiyahe so base doon sa lalim at posibleng luwang ng pinagtapunan ng gamot ay alam natin na napakarami nito. Kahit ito expired, dapat ito ay covered ng rules and regulations, particularly yung mga Commission on Audit (COA) rules and regulations, because these were procured through government funds," he said.

"As of this time di pa namin ma-determine kung sino ang nasa likod nito kasi nasa proseso pa kami ng imbestigasyon. I will recommend to the governor that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should get involved with the investigation. Ayon sa impormasyong aming natanggap, this probably dates back around 2005 to 2006," he added.

The PDCC chief did not discount the possibility that there could be more items of the same kind and were dumped in other areas contrary to regulations on safe and proper disposal of wastes.

Meanwhile, Provincial Health officer-in-charge Jackson Soriano said there was something unusual with the incident. He identified some 21 kinds of medicines already dug up including metrodinazole, which is a drug of choice for amoebiasis and also antibiotics for certain abdominal infection; condoms; blood bags; contraceptive pills; anesthesia; IV tubing; anti-TB drugs; betadine antiseptic solution; ascorbic acid; and other still unidentified tablets.

Orduña said that a bigger backhoe is needed to speed up the digging operations. (PIO/PIA Pangasinan/dos) [top]

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