PhilHealth should be probed for nonpayment to Red Cross: Gordon

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2020 11:46 AM | Updated as of Oct 18 2020 11:55 AM

Medical personnel wear their personal protective equipment moments before the mega swabbing of Grab driver-partners and delivery riders at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City on July 30, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Philippine Red Cross chief Sen. Richard Gordon said Sunday it should be PhilHealth that should be investigated for its debt to the non-government organization for the COVID-19 tests it has conducted.

The PRC earlier announced it would halt PhilHealth-funded coronavirus testing due to the state insurer's P1 billion outstanding bill as of Friday.

PhilHealth apologized for the delay in payment, saying it was partly due to the review being conducted amid the corruption probe on the state insurer.

Gordon on Sunday warned PhilHealth officials against speaking ill of the NGO amid a supposed investigation by the state insurer.

"Nakakapundi talaga yung sasabihin, meron kaming sinisiyasat. Kami ba may kasalanan o kayo? Kayo ang lumapit, di naman kami," Gordon said on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(It irks me when they say they are investigating something. Is it our fault or yours? You're the one who approached us.)

"Dapat sila imbestigahin ba't di nila binabayaran. Ayoko sanang pumasok, marami akong nalalaman dyan. Ayoko lang sabihin na pinepuwersa natin sila. Pero meron akong mga dokumentong na hawak na nag-overprice sila dun sa tinatawag natin test kits."

(They should be the ones investigated for not paying the PRC. I don't want to get involved because I know many things. I don't want it to seem like we're forcing them. But I have documents showing they had overpriced test kits.)

Gordon urged PhilHealth officials to file cases against PRC should they find any violations.

"Merong dalawang direktor ata dyan - didiretsuhin ko na - kung galit kayo at meron kayong kaso, i-file ninyo at 'wag niyo pahirapan ang taumbayan. Kung may kasalanan kami, sabihin ninyo. Hindi yung naghahaka-haka kayo," he said.

(There are 2 directors there. If you're angry and you have complaints, file them and don't let the public suffer. If we committed any offense, let us know. Don't make assumptions.)

"Ayoko sana magsalita nang ganito. Pero, kagabi, nung narinig ko, sabi kesyo tatanungin namin sa DBM (Department of Budget and Management), 'di naman DBM nakipagkontrata sa'min. Ang nakipagkontrata sa'min, PhilHealth."

(I don't want to speak like this. But last night, I heard they were going to ask DBM. But DBM did not enter into an agreement with us. PhilHealth did.)

Over 1 million coronavirus tests, or about a fourth of the Philippines' 3.8 million tests so far, were done by PRC. 

The country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases swelled to 354,338 on Saturday, of which, 52,423 are active infections.

More than a hundred testing laboratories, including some of the PRC's, have been granted accreditation by the government to conduct screening for COVID-19.

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