The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has denied allegations that there were irregularities in the procurement of 48 units of air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) installed across Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

In-charge of EMB’s Office of the Director and its Concurrent Assistant Director Jacqueline Caancan said the purchase of such equipment was aboveboard and free of corruption, noting that the agency followed every step of the procurement and bidding rules.

"The procurement of said equipment went through the standard bidding procedures conducted by our Bids and Awards Committee and acquired through competitive public bidding,” Caancan said.

She added: "The procurement is in accordance with Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act."

Caancan was reacting to newspaper reports claiming that the procurement of the equipment, supposedly worth P1 billion, was riddled with anomalies and irregularities.

The reports refer to the EMB's purchase of AQMS from 2011 to 2015, composed of both Open Path Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS), and Particulate Matter Stations (PM 10/ PM 2.5).

Caancan clarified that all these equipment, purchased for EMB Central and Regional Offices, cost only around P290 million, and not P1 billion.

Meanwhile, Engr. Jean Rosete, chief of EMB Air Quality Management Section, belied claims that the technology used for the AQMS acquired by the EMB was already obsolete and not intended for use in Philippine setting.

"The Open Path DOAS procured by the EMB falls under the equivalent methods certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)”, Rosete explained.

“The Open Path DOAS is one of the advanced technologies that can be used for the country for ambient monitoring. The technology offers spatial representation of a geographical area and with probability of capturing measurements of local sources of emissions. The aforecited AQMS and equipment are also five times lower in cost in terms of maintenance than the other technologies,” she added. ###