Palace: Gov't won't let OWWA, PhilHealth go bankrupt

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 04:47 PM

OWWA has been deploying free transport service for OFWs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From the OWWA website

MANILA - The government will not let the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) go bankrupt while the Philippines is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said Thursday, after the two agencies expressed worries over their finances.

Both PhilHealth and OWWA said they expect funding problems next year due to expenses in responding to the pandemic. The two agencies are membership institutions that collect contributions.

PhilHealth has been shouldering COVID-19 testing fees and medical expenses of Filipinos who got sick with the coronavirus, while OWWA has been spending for the needs of repatriated Filipino migrant workers.

"Sa panahon po ng pandemya ang OWWA at PhilHealth hindi po natin papayagan malugi," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

(During the pandemic, we will not let OWWA and PhilHealth go bankrupt.)

OWWA has asked Congress for a P5-billion supplemental budget to prolong the fund's sustainability as it warned of a "largely looming" bankruptcy should the agency continue to spend for the food, accommodation, and transportation of repatriated migrant workers beyond 2021.

PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales, meanwhile, had said that he expects the state health insurance firm to have a "grim" and "dangerous" financial position starting next year as it estimates to incur a deficit until 2024 due to the pandemic.

Roque said lawmakers have expressed support for additional funding as he assured the public that the government would continue to take care of its citizens, including overseas Filipino workers.

"'Yan po ay patunay na di natin papabayaan ang ating OFWs, ang ating mamamayan sa panahon ng pandemya," Roque said.

(That is proof that we will not let down our OFWs and citizens during this pandemic.)