The President of the country has the “prerogative” to abolish the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which is currently under investigation for alleged irregularities, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
“Ang ating Pangulo ng Pilipinas ay meron namang ganyang prerogative base sa ebidensyang hinahain sa kanya, kung sa tingin niya ipa-privatize o tatanggalin, ito ay kanyang magiging desisyon base sa ebidensyang ibinigay sa kanya [The President of the Philippines has that prerogative based on the evidence presented to him, if he thinks it will be privatized or abolished. It will be his decision based on the evidence given to him],” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire in an online forum.
Vergeire made the statement when asked for the DOH’s reaction to the proposal of President Duterte to abolish the state-health insurer.
If PhilHealth will be abolished, Vergeire assured that the government will develop a mechanism to help Filipinos with their healthcare expenses.
“Hindi naman papayag ang gobyerno na hindi natin pupunan kung ano man ang magiging kakulangan natin, kapag nangyari itong balak o pronouncement na ito ng ating presidente, para hindi naman din magkaroon ng financial hardship ang ating mga kababayan [The government will not allow any gaps not to be filled up, in case this pronouncement of the President happens, in order for our countrymen not to encounter financial hardships],” said Vergeire.
The Health official said that PhilHealth was established to provide “accessible and acceptable” healthcare services to Filipinos.
“Alam naman natin na marami talaga ang hindi nakaka-access sa mga healthcare services because of financial reasons. So, yun ung pangunahing objective kung bakit nandyan ang Philhealth [We know that many people do not have access to healthcare services because of financial reasons. So, that is the main objective why Philhealth was established],” she said.
Vergeire said that for now, they will just wait for the results of the study being conducted by the Office of the President on what will be the fate of PhilHealth.