Go seeks options for gov’t to pay over P900 M to Red Cross for COVID testing

Published October 16, 2020, 7:23 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’ Go sought on Friday options for government to pay more than P900 million to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) owed for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in the past months.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The PRC has stopped COVID-19 testing after PhilHealth failed to pay its debt. PhilHealth earlier paid P100 million to PRC.  

Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said he has already talked to new PhilHealth president, Dante Gierran, to determine the PRC-PhilHealth debt issue and how PRC could now be paid.

He also said PhilHealth is at present talking with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on how it could pay PRC based on existing procurement laws.

As the health committee chairman, Go said he is looking for ways on how to settle the issue so that the testing capacity of the government could resume.

“Tulad ng pangako ko noon, willing ako maging tulay upang mapabilis ang aksyon sa mga isyu na hinaharap natin para hindi mapabayaan ang serbisyo sa tao. Hindi natin gusto na madagdagan pa ang pinapasan ng mga kababayan nating kailangang gumastos para sa COVID-19 testing, katulad ng mga OFWs, returning individuals, medical frontliners, atbp. Buhay at kabuhayan ng mga kababayan natin ang nakasalalay dito (As I have promised, I am willing to act as a bridge so as to settle the issue so that the welfare of our countrymen is not prejudiced. We don’t want to add to the financial burden being shouldered by our countrymen by paying COVID-test procedures by PRC similar to those administered to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), returning individuals, medical frontliners, and others. The lives and livelihood of our countrymen are at stake here),” he said.