Some lawmakers wary of giving more funds to PhilHealth: Marcos


Posted at Aug 19 2020 10:49 AM

People crowd outside a PhilHealth branch in Quezon City on Aug. 3, 2020, before Metro Manila reverted to stricter lockdown. The crowd rushed to get their IDs and process their membership, which they need to avail of the government financial subsidy. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- Some lawmakers are wary of giving additional funds to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for the coronavirus pandemic due to allegations of corruption and mismanagement, a senator said Wednesday. 

The Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) bill, which will allow President Rodrigo Duterte to realign funds for the coronavirus crisis, allots P10 billion for PhilHealth so it can shoulder tests for the virus. 

This amount is “still under negotiation,” Sen. Imee Marcos said. 

PhilHealth has reserve funds and even Health Secretary Francisco Duque admitted in a Senate inquiry that corruption plagued the agency, she said. 

“Many of us really do not want to give the P10 billion [to PhilHealth]. Isa na ako doon,” Marcos told ANC. “Ayoko talagang magdagdag ng pera at nauubos lang.” 

(I am one of those who is against it. I don’t want to add money there because it’s just depleted.) 

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Marcos said she preferred this amount to go to displaced workers, quarantine facilities, and efforts to trace the contacts of coronavirus patients. 

She urged President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint a “caretaker” for PhilHealth, after its President and CEO Ricardo Morales went on medical leave. 

“There are many qualified doctors, there are even in-house people who are very, very competent,” she said.