Gov't hopes Red Cross continues testing efforts

The government is hopeful the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will continue its testing efforts despite the reported delay in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.'s (PhilHealth) payment of liabilities to the humanitarian group.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has asked for patience from Red Cross and assured them that settling the government's debts will be a priority.

"Paalalahanan ko rin po ang PNRC, dati-rati naman po nagkaroon na rin naman ng advance ang gobyerno sa kanila, so kung medyo naaantala po, kaunting pasensya lang po and I’m sure that because PNRC is led by Sen. Richard Gordon, it will be a priority po (May I remind PNRC that the government used to give advances to them so if it has been slightly delayed, we ask for a little patience and I'm sure that because PNRC is led by Sen. Richard Gordon, it will be a priority)," he said during an online press briefing Monday.

Roque said they hope Red Cross will remain a government partner in the testing efforts, as the problems hounding PhilHealth are already being addressed.

"Let’s just wait until they thresh out kung ano man iyong nagiging problema ngayon sa PhilHealth at sana po tuloy-tuloy pa rin iyong pagti-testing because we consider PNRC as a very important partner of government in the testing capacity (Let's just wait until they thresh our the problems now in PhilHealth and we hope the testing will continue because we consider PNRC as very important) partner of government in the testing capacity)," he said.

Gordon, chairman of Red Cross,  had earlier said the group might suspend its coronavirus testing program if PhilHealth is unable to settle its liabilities to the organization.

PhilHealth's debts to Red Cross have reportedly reached P714 million.

The senator said Red Cross might be unable to order new coronavirus test kits to replenish its supply and as well might be forced to halt of operations in its Manila testing center if PhilHealth won't pay its debts.

Roque recognized that Red Cross is the biggest testing center in the country, saying it will be a huge loss if the group stops its testing program.

"Now that the focus is on PhilHealth, maaasahan naman siguro natin na maiiwasan iyong delay sa pag-reimburse ng PhilHealth (Now that the focus is on PhilHealth, we can expect that the delays in the PhilHealth reimbursement will be prevented)," he said.

The government recently launched an investigation into the corruption allegations at PhilHealth.

A panel led by the Department of Justice is expected to submit the results of the corruption probe to the President in a month.