Senators on Wednesday said they are confident that newly-appointed Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) chief Dante Gierran’s credentials are what the state health insurance agency needs to resolve the problems hounding it.
Senator Richard Gordon said that with Gierran’s experience as a former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director, lawyer, and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) graduate, he can institute reforms within PhilHealth which has been hounded by anomalies and corruption issues.
“I really think what PhilHealth needs is an NBI (agent) who has a lawyer’s degree and a CPA who has experience, so you can get the rats out of there,” Gordon said in an ANC interview.
Gierran had earlier admitted having had no experience in dealing with public health which is a requirement under Section 14 of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law for a PhilHealth president.
But while he lacks this prerequisite, Gierran said he has experience with financial management which he believes is paramount in leading PhilHealth.
“I hope (he’d do a good job), so I would support him,” Gordon further said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros also said she is confident Gierran can take on the job saying she can vouch for his experience in management as an NBI director and in finance as CPA lawyer.
“But if he is the right man for the job is something he still has to prove,” Hontiveros said, also in a separate ANC interview.
“Sinabi niya mismo na hindi siya maalam sa field ng public health so I really hope that he will listen to advice and form a board of public health experts,” she added.
But as a former NBI director, Hontiveros said she expects Gierran to immediately “hit the ground running by going after the big fish.”
“We must hope that he really gets to the bottom of the seasonal problems in PhilHealth and mabuwag na niya sa wakas ang anumang mga mafia na nandoon (and eradicate whatever mafia is in there),” she said.
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go also vouched for Gierran’s ability to resolve the perennial issues plaguing the agency, and urged him to finally put an end to the deep-rooted and systemic issue of corruption while ensuring the continuity of the agency’s services.
Like the other senators, Go said Gierran is highly qualified for the job given his accounting and legal background, extensive experience in government, and most of all, a clean record aligned with the administration’s zero-tolerance policy for corruption and thus, “is more than qualified for the task.”
He said Gierran should take to heart President Duterte’s words to rid the agency of corrupt officials, restore public trust, and ensure that people’s taxes are spent prudently on improving the delivery and quality of services, especially during this time of crisis.
“Do your best. The marching orders of the President is to cleanse the agency but also ensure that the public gets the best services from PhilHealth,” Go said.