By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the so-called mafia or corrupt officials in PhilHealth are still in power and they want to blame him for the increase in the premium for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Roque made the statement after exasperated OFWs decried PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0014 which requires OFWs with an income of P10,000 to P20,000 to pay three percent of their monthly salary starting 2020, an increase from 2.75 percent the previous year.
In an interview on Unang Hirit on Monday, Roque said the plan of high-ranking officials in PhilHealth was to pin the blame on him for authoring the Universal Health Care Law.
“‘Boss, nag-message na si PCEO. Ito sinabi niya: Si Harry Potter sagot lahat. Siya pala author ng law (Boss, the PhilHealth CEO has sent a message. He said Harry Potter should take the fall. He authored the law),'” Roque read a portion of a supposed conversation.
“Ikaw nag-a-administer ng bilyong-bilyong pera ng taumbayan at pinasasagot ka kung bakit ka nagpapahirap sa OFW, ang sagot sisihin mo yung Harry Roque (You’re the one taking care of billions and when you’re asked why you’re burdening OFWs, your answer is to blame Harry Roque)?” he added.
According to Roque, PhilHealth is going after him because of his campaign to rid the agency of corruption.
“Bakit po? Kasi hindi ko po tinitigil ang krusada ko na malinis ang hanay ng PhilHealth dahil hangga’t hindi natatanggal ‘yang mga gunggong na ‘yan, magkakaroon po ng problema sa pagpapatupad ng aking batas na Universal Health Care (Why are they after me? It’s because of my ongoing crusade to clean the ranks of PhilHealth because as long as those idiots are there, my Universal Health Care Law will not be implemented properly),” he said.
The Palace official claimed that the law never said that OFWs should bear the burden of increased contributions.
“Wala po sa batas ‘yan. ‘Yan po ay nasa implementing rules and regulations (IRR) ng PhilHealth, at ang namuno po ng implementing rules and regulations eh PhilHealth mismo (That is part of the IRR, not the law. The IRR was created by PhilHealth itself),” Roque said.
“Totoo po, sinabi doon sa batas na pwedeng mag-increase ang premiums pero hindi po natin sinabi ‘yan na ang mga OFWs (It’s true that the law states that we can increase premiums but it never said that it should come from the OFWs),” he added.