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New PhilHealth chief admits he has no public health knowledge, experience
This undated photo shows former NBI Director Dante Gierran
The Freeman, File

New PhilHealth chief admits he has no public health knowledge, experience

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - September 1, 2020 - 10:17am

MANILA, Philippines — The newly-appointed chief of the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation on Tuesday admitted he has no prior knowledge or experience when it comes to public health

PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran, former National Bureau of Investigation director, said this in an interview with ANC's "Headstart" Tuesday morning.

"I'm very scared. I'm scared because I don't know the operations of PhilHealth. Unlike NBI, I knew the operations of NBI. But PhilHealth, wala. I do not know about public health," he said.

"I don't have experience about public health. What I know about is financial management, having been a certified public accountant, and insurance," Gierran added.

Despite his lack of experience in public health, Gierran asked the Filipino people to give him "a chance to lead."

"I would like to succeed. I am scared but I am not cowed," he said.

Section 14 of the Universal Health Care Act stipulates "that the Board cannot recommend a President and CEO of PhilHealth unless the member is a Filipino citizen and must have at least seven (7) years of experience in the field of public health, management, finance, and health economics or a combination of any of these expertise."

Guidance from predecessor Morales

Gierran added that he would be seeking guidance from former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, telling him directly: "I will talk to you later, sir. I have much to learn from you." 

Morales resigned last Wednesday, citing his health as the primary reason. The resigned PhilHealth chief, in an interview with ANC's "Headstart", advised his successor to "stay healthy".

A health certificate submitted by Morales to the Senate revealed that he is receiving treatment for lymphoma or cancer of the lymph nodes.

Morales' resignation also came amid a series of investigations by the Senate, the House of Representatives, and an inter-agency task force into allegations of corruption and mismanagement against PhilHealth's top executives. 

RELATED: Whistleblower accuses PhilHealth execs of stealing P15 billion through fraud schemes Billions in PhilHealth funds released, 'exposed to corruption' each week, PACC says

President Rodrigo Duterte named Gierran as the new chief of the state-run agency on Monday evening, less than a week after Morales' resignation.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III last Thursday said the president would be looking for someone with skills in financing and accounting, and a legal background, to head the agency anew.

On the same day, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who heads the inter-agency task force investigation into alleged corruption and mismanagement within the agency, also offered his own criteria for any incoming PhilHealth chief.

"Someone who has a steep experience in financial management and deep understanding of the law, and has a good amount of charisma to inspire and rally the good people at PhilHealth to start rebuilding the public’s trust in and respect for their agency," he said.

Related video:

DANTE GIERRAN PHILHEALTH PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORPORATION PUBLIC HEALTH
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 27, 2020 - 6:53pm

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. is facing scrutiny anew over more allegations of corruption.

It was in the headlines last year because of an alleged scam involving payments to WellMed Dialysis Center for treatments charged for a patient who had already died.

Follow this thread for updates.

October 27, 2020 - 6:53pm

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation announces that the agency has released P500 million as partial payment to the Philippine Red Cross. 

"PhilHealth takes exception to the insinuation that it is reckless and is playing on people’s lives. Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer. Its exercise of judiciousness is to protect the people and their funds", PhiHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran says in a statement.

October 27, 2020 - 6:51pm

PhilHealth has released P50 million as partial payment to the Philippine Red Cross, PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran says.

"PhilHealth takes exception to the insinuation that it is reckless and is playing on people’s lives. Its prudence in taking charge of its members’ hard-earned contributions is central to the state health insurer," Gierran says.

The state insurer adds that it will expedite the processing of its remaining balance to Red Cross following strict compliance to government accounting rules and regulations.

October 27, 2020 - 3:19pm

Two committees in the House approve a report recommending the filing of administrative and criminal charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and other officials over the widespread corruption in the state health insurer.

October 19, 2020 - 9:17pm

President Rodrigo Duterte says the government will compensate the Philippine Red Cross for COVID-19 tests.

The Red Cross recently halted conducting tests due to the P930 million debt of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for the conduct of COVID-19 tests for the government.

"I don't think Sen. (Richard) Gordon would have in his mind to stop. What I'm trying to say is we will pay," Duterte says in a recorded address aired Monday night.

October 15, 2020 - 3:07pm

The Philippine Red Cross will stop conducting COVID-19 tests chargeable to PhilHealth due to the state insurer's outstanding balance.

PRC says it will no longer receive specimens for testing of OFWs, those arriving in airports and seaports, individuals through mega swabbing facilities, frontline health and government workers, and others included in the expanded testing guidelines of the DOH.

"The PRC does not have unlimited resources to replenish the testing kits for its laboratories unless PhilHealth, its major creditor, settles its lawful obligations to the PRC," PRC says in a statement dated October 14.

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