Palace notes PhilHealth efforts to fight corruption as Duterte deadline nears

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2020 03:49 PM

Palace notes PhilHealth efforts to fight corruption as Duterte deadline nears 1
The PhilHealth local office on Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City. Photo taken on June 7, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Malacañang cited Tuesday the efforts of state health insurer PhilHealth to curb corruption, with President Rodrigo Duterte giving the state medical insurer until this month clean house after repeated revelations of alleged systemic corrupt practices at the agency. 

Duterte earlier said he wanted PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran to "clean up" corruption by December, after whistleblowers accused its officials of pocketing P15 billion in state funds and approving overpriced projects and fund releases to supposedly favored hospitals. 

Gierran has followed Duterte's order to reshuffle PhilHealth's regional and senior vice presidents, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

"Alam naman natin (we know) na familiarity somehow affects accountability," he told reporters. 

Gierran also consulted medical professionals on preventing fraudulent claims and talked with dialysis clinics after some of these allegedly charged the government for the treatment of "ghost" patients, said Roque. 

The PhilHealth has expanded its dialysis coverage to 133 sessions per year from the previous 90, he added.

"Nakikita naman po natin na 'pag binabawasan ang korapsyon, napapadami po ang benepisyo para sa ating mga mamamayan," he said. 

(We see that when corruption is stemmed, we can increase the benefits for the people.)

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Duterte recently approved the filing of charges against Gierran's predecessor Ricardo Morales and other PhilHealth officials accused of irregularities. 

Last month, he said he would no longer seek the abolition of PhilHealth because "it’s not easy really to create another one." He also told corrupt government officials that resignation would not save their necks