Gov’t apologizes to Red Cross over PhilHealth debts

Published October 15, 2020, 5:29 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government has apologized to the Philippine Red Cross over the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) debts to the PRC  and promised to resolve the financial conflict.

The Red Cross had earlier announced it was halting its coronavirus tests charged to the State health corporation until it pays the overdue balance of P930.9 million.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque recognized Red Cross’ contribution to the country’s testing efforts, admitting it will be a huge loss if the group stops accepting PhilHealth-funded testing.

“Malaking kawalan po iyan kung ititigil nila ang testing for PhilHealth. Pero ako naman po ay kampante na mayroon lang talagang mga internal problema ngayon ang PhilHealth na alam naman nating lahat (It will be a big loss if  they will stop the testing for PhilHealth. But I am confident that there is just some internal problem in PhilHealth which we all know),” he said during a Palace press briefing Thursday.

“So, humihingi po ako ng pasensiya sa PNRC on behalf of the President (I apologize to PNRC on behalf of the President),” he added.

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Defense Secretary and NTF chair Delfin Lorezana, PhilHealth president Dante Gierran, and PNRC chair Sen. Gordon have started to discuss the matter.

Galvez said they are awaiting  the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) word to determine if the amount stated in the agreement between PhilHealth and Red Cross on the coronavirus testing is correct.

“Inaayos na po natin iyong  problema po sa PhilHealth (We are trying to solve the problem in PhilHealth). Sa ngayon po, nag-uusap po  si SND saka si Mr. Gierran and then also Sen. Gordon, niri-resolve lang po iyong isyu, iyong sa MoA, dahil kasi iyong MoA po, napirmahan po  iyon ng previous president (At present, the SND, Mr. Gierran, and then also Sen.  Gordon are resolving the issue, the MoA because the MoA was signed by the previous president),” Galvez said during a televised press briefing Thursday.

“Sa ngayon lang po parang humihingi lang po ng comment sa DBM for the purpose na para at least clear po iyong napirmahan sa MoA, kasi po nag-change po iyong mga tinatawag nating mga prices (At present, the DBM has been asked to comment for the purpose to be at least clear on what was signed in the MoA. Because there has been a change in the prices). And the new President of the PhilHealth just wanted to make sure na all is in order,” he added.

Red Cross announced that it would cease conducting tests chargeable to PhilHealth effect Oct. 14 due to  its failure to settle its multimillion peso outstanding balance. The group explained that it does not have unlimited resources to replenish the testing kits for its laboratories unless PhilHealth settles its debt.