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 ( - 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:

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 14, 2020 - 11:10pm

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.

September 14, 2020 - 11:10pm

Task Force PhilHealth has recommended complaints against former PhilHealth CEO Ricardo Morales, Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, officer-in-charge Calixto Gabuya Jr. over alleged corruption at the state insurer related to overpriced ICT systems and other issues.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced the recommendations at a meeting of the IATF, part of which was televised.

September 1, 2020 - 4:01pm

Senate President Tito Sotto reports the findings of the Senate Committee of the Whole following its investigation into alleged anomalies at PhilHealth.

Sotto admits that he is taking the task of reporting the Senate panel's findings with some reluctance in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that "we should not change horses mid-stream."

"It is suggested that we must let the pandemic first subside, before advocating for changes, in the areas of leadership, organization, systems and operations of PhilHealth," Sotto says.

September 1, 2020 - 9:19am

Newly appointed PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran admits he is "very scared" of taking over the state insurer.

"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," Gierran tells ANC's "Headstart" Tuesday morning.

The former NBI director adds he does not have experience about public health but he knows about financial management.

August 25, 2020 - 8:32pm

President Rodrigo Duterte has "stated that it would be best for [PhilHealth CEO Ricardo Morales] and for PhilHealth to give up his post during these critical times for the agency," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says.

Guevarra says the president had noted Morales' health.

The secretary adds that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has already talked to Morales "and that the latter said he would understand if he had to be replaced."

August 18, 2020 - 11:32am

Sen. Panfilo Lacson warns PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales and Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco Jr. that they may face charges should the alleged irregularities in the state insurer be proven.

"Malamang, maliligo kayo sa kaso kapag ibinahagi na ni SP Tito Sotto kay DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra ang lahat na records ng proceedinhs ng pagdinig na sinasagawa namin ngayon," Lacson says.

Lacson recalled that in the previous Senate hearing, Limsiaco admitted that PhilHealth remitted P156 million to the Bureau of Internal Revenue last August 3, claiming that he charged the amount to the Corporate Operational Budget of the agency. 

"Then, he followed up with another lie - that he didn't know that it was an obligation under the law that he had to withhold taxes," the senator says. 

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