Duque backs move to grant Duterte special powers to fix PhilHealth

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2020 12:07 PM

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MANILA - Embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is supporting the move to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to solve anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“Sinusuportahan natin 'yung wisdom ng Congress na bigyan ng special powers ang Pangulo para talagang mapabilis ang reporma ng PhilHealth at matugunan lahat ng kahinaan ng sistema o kakulangan at mapuno itong mga puwang at para magkaroon ng mas malakas o robust social health insurance system ang bayan,” Duque said.

Some lawmakers in the House of Representatives are now studying the proposal.

Duque hopes that the new PhilHealth chief, Dante Gierran, will be able to instill the needed reforms in the state health insurer.

One of the reforms is strengthening the information technology support to PhilHealth’s huge database.

He said PhilHealth is processing around 1 million claims a month.

“Kaya kinakailangan talaga unang requirement maayos at comprehensive database management, talagang sufficient IT support,” he said.

The Senate Committee of the Whole earlier recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Duque, resigned PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales and other executives of the state-run insurance firm after they allegedly authorized the release of COVID-19 funds to health facilities not catering to coronavirus patients.

At least 17 senators earlier signed a board resolution urging Duque to step down as health chief, saying he has failed to address the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

A task force headed by the Department of Justice is also investigating claims of widespread corruption in PhilHealth. It is expected to give its report on Sept. 14.

-- ABS-CBN Teleradyo, September 3, 2020