Duterte urged: Appoint healthcare financing expert as PhilHealth caretaker


Posted at Aug 11 2020 07:49 AM | Updated as of Aug 11 2020 08:02 AM

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MANILA — A workers union of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a caretaker for PhilHealth as its top officials fought accusations of corruption.

PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales and Executive Vice President Arnel De Jesus had filed medical leaves and sought to skip the continuation of a Senate inquiry where whistleblowers accused officials of pocketing at least P15 billion in public funds.

“Who is now left to manage the organization?” asked PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency, and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE) president Ma. Fe Francisco.

"We call on President Digong to put in charge a caretaker who is an expert in the field of healthcare financing, expert in the field of healthcare insurance with proven integrity and incorruptibility, someone with no vested interest in running the corporation,” she added.

PhilHealth WHITE, which has some 7,000 members, disagrees with the “very irresponsible” statement of an official during the last Senate hearing that the agency might run out of funds and collapse in 2022, said Francisco.

“Kahit kami nagugulat bakit ganoon ang statements during the investigation when in fact, we are working hard to make the program afloat. We feel betrayed with that statement also,” she said.

(We, too, were surprised about why their statements during the investigation were like that.)

“Hindi po kami naniniwala. The organization is robust dahil kami, nagtatrabaho kami nang maayos even sa ganitong panahon na may pandemic,” she added.

(We don’t believe it. The organization is robust because we are working well even during this pandemic.)

Duterte said Monday he would hold erring PhilHealth officials responsible. He has also created an inter-agency task force to investigate anomalies in PhilHealth.

Duterte refuses to fire Morales unless there is evidence against him, Malacañang earlier said.