Sen. Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go said Thursday he would act as soon as possible on bills seeking to defer increased monthly contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) when the Senate resumes regular session Monday.
‘’Once these proposed measures are referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, I, as chairman, will act on these as soon as possible,” Go said.
These bills are expected to be taken up when the Senate, along with the House of Representatives, reopen its doors for regular session on Jan. 18 after a month-long Christmas break.
‘’Senate President (Vicente C.) Sotto (III) also identified the proposed measures to defer the increase in PhilHealth contribution rates this year as a priority,’’ Go said.
‘’Personal ko ring kinausap ang Pangulo at suportado niya ito. Sinabi niya na kung may maipapasang batas ang Lehislatibo na naglalayong ipatupad ang deferment, o kung may kailangang aprubahan na dagdag na pondo mula gobyerno para hindi maantala ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth, pipirmahan niya ito pagkatapos mapag-aralan ng mabuti,’’ he explained.
(I personally talked to the President and he supports this. When the Legislature has passed a measure mandating a deferment or when there is a need for government to furnish funds so as not to disrupt the services of PhilHealth, he would sign after studying it)
Go said that based on his conversations with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and PhilHealth CEO Dante Gierran, they are now studying measures to ensure that Philhealth services would not be disrupted once there is a law mandating a deferment of collections on increased contributions.
‘’Maliban dito, kasama rin sa mga prayoridad ng Senate Health Committee ang pagsasaayos ng PhilHealth at pag-review ng implementation ng UHC Law,’’ he added.
(Aside from this, the Senate health committee would organize PhilHealth and review the implementation of Universal Health Care law)
‘’Habang ginagawan ng paraan na magkaroon ng sapat na pondo ang PhilHealth, sisiguraduhin rin natin na hindi mananakaw ang pera ng bayan at maisaayos dapat ang serbisyo sa taumbayan, lalo na sa panahon ng kanilang pangangailangan,’’ he explained.
(While undertaking steps to have available funds for PhilHealth, we must make sure that these funds would not be stolen and make services to our countrymen easier, particularly at the time of their need)
‘’Ang dagdag na bayarin ang mas lalong nagpapahirap sa mga Pilipino sa ngayon. Kung meron mang dapat dagdagan, iyon ay ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa PhilHealth. Kung malinis diyan at walang magnanakaw, hindi magkukulang ang pondo at mas masisigurong ang bawat piso ay makakabenepisyo sa bawat Pilipino,’’ he said.
(Increased contributions would be adding problems to our countrymen. There should be trust in PhilHealth when there are additional funds. If it is clean and if there is no corruption, there would be no fund shortages and every peso is spent to benefit every Filipino)
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Senate would prioritize all bills seeking the deferment of the additional increase in PhilHealth monthly contributions during the time of the pandemic.
These bills, according to Zubiri, would be referred by the Rules committee and assigned immediately to appropriate committees for immediate action.
‘’Once the committee report is done we can finish in plenary within two to three weeks of debate and amendments. I’m looking at passing this hopefully before Valentine’s to give our people the welcome respite they need during this financially difficult period in their lives,’’ he said.
‘’I believe this will have bipartisan support as no one would want to give an additional burden to our people during this extremely difficult time of the Pandemic were jobs have been either scarce or lost all together,’’ he added.