The government cannot give a timeline on when it can settle Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) remaining debts to the Philippine Red Cross as it is currently dealing with the impact of typhoon Rolly, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque however assured Red Cross that payment for the state-funded coronavirus testing will be made as soon as the accounting “verification and reconciliation” is completed.
“Unang-una, may pondo po ang PhilHealth para diyan. Pangalawa, nangako ang Presidente magbabayad ang Republika ng Pilipinas. Mayroon lang po talagang mga proseso na pinagdadaanan bago magbayad (First, PhilHealth has funds for that. Second, the President has promised the Republic of the Philippines will pay. There are some processes being taken before the payment),” he said during a televised Palace press briefing.
“Matapos ang verification at reconciliation, magbabayad naman po ang gobyerno; sapat-sapat po ang pondo natin para diyan; guaranteed by the President no less. (After the verification and reconciliation, the government will pay. Our funds are sufficient for that, guaranteed by the President no less),” he said.
Asked when the payment will be given, Roque said: “Mahirap kasing magbigay ng timeline sa gobyerno ano, lalo na sa panahon na ganito na nasasalanta tayo ng mga bagyo gaya ni Rolly (It’s difficult for the government to give a timeline especially after we were battered by typhoon Rolly).”
Roque said Red Cross should not worry about the government’s commitment about forthcoming payment.
“The President has said we will pay. So wala dapat alinlangan ang ating mga ka-partners sa Philippine Red Cross na mababayaran sila (so our partners in Red Cross should not worry. They will get paid),” he said.
PhilHealth recently made a P500 partial payment for its debt to Red Cross after the latter suspended the coronavirus tests due to the state corporation’s non-payment. Another payment of P100 million was reportedly given a few days later. The remaining balance will reportedly be paid by PhilHealth according to government accounting rules and regulations.
Red Cross has resumed its COVID testing charged to PhilHealth following its partial payment. The state firm reportedly owed P1.1 billion for tests conducted by Red Cross for arriving Filipino workers, frontline government workers, among others.