The debts of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to the Philippine Red Cross related to the State-funded coronavirus tests will be paid as promised by President Duterte, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, however, explained that certain verification and audit rules must be followed before settling State health insurance corporation’s obligation to Red Cross.
“May proseso na sinusunod. Hindi naman po parang pribadong organization ang PhilHealth. Mayroong mga verifications, mayroon mga CoA (Commission on Audit) rules and regulations na dapat sundin dahil gobyerno pa rin po ang PhilHealth (There are rules being followed. PhiHealth is not a private organization. Verifications must be made, CoA rules and regulations must be followed because PHilHealth is a government firm),” he said during an online press briefing.
“Pero going by track record, nagkakautang, nag-babayad naman po. Ang Presidente na nagsalita he vouches na lahat ng pagkakautang ng PhilHelath sa tests will be paid (But going by the track record, PhilHealth settles its debts. The President has said he vouches that all debts of PhilHealth related to COVID tests will be paid),” he said.
Sen. Richard Gordon recently divulged that PhilHealth’s debts to Red Cross have ballooned to over P700 million and asked the State firm to settle its obligation to sustain the group’s operations.
Gordon, chairman of Red Cross, agreed to accept an initial P500-million settlement from PhilHealth.
The State firm has reportedly managed to reduce its P1.1-billion Red Cross debt to P623 million after the initial payments made late last year.
The PRC earlier warned of suspending the COVID testing charged to PhilHealth due to its inability to pay its debts. Funds are reportedly needed by Red Cross to replenish supplies sourced abroad.
Last November, Duterte took a swipe at Red Cross, calling it “mukhang pera” or greedy after it threatened to halt its coronavirus testing charged to PhilHealth. He previously assured Red Cross about the government’s resolve to pay its debts.