MANILA — The newly-installed chief of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) questioned Thursday the suggestions to privatize the corruption-ridden agency, saying it would "send the wrong signal."
"Are we telling the world na hindi tayo marunong magtrabaho nang tama? It will send a wrong signal that the government cannot be trusted," PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran told lawmakers.
It was reported earlier that President Rodrigo Duterte had told Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III in a recent meeting that he wants to abolish or privatize PhilHealth.
This followed findings of both the Senate and an interagency task force that several officials at the state health insurer, which covers medical bills of Filipinos, were liable for alleged irregularities in the agency.
But Gierran said that while he respects Duterte's view, he is also worried what would happen to PhilHealth members if the agency is handed over to some private firm's hands.
"We respect the wisdom of the President. Pero kung i-privatize po, ano ang mangyayari sa ating mga miyembro?" he asked.
Duterte picked Gierran to head PhilHelath in a bid to cleanse the agency from corruption.
Gierran—a retired director of the National Bureau of Investigation—replaced Ricardo Morales, who resigned due to his bout with lymphoma at the height of a Senate investigation into alleged anomalies at PhilHealth.
Morales is among PhilHealth officials recommended to face raps over the alleged irregularities in the agency.
—Reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News