Gov't plans to settle half of PhilHealth's debt to Red Cross 'at the soonest' â Palace
This undated photo shows members lining up for PhilHealth benefits at an unnamed hospital.
The STAR/File

Gov't plans to settle half of PhilHealth's debt to Red Cross 'at the soonest' — Palace

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - October 20, 2020 - 5:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government aims to settle half of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.'s debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) "at the soonest time possible," Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the agreement on the payment of the state-run insurer's debt is "already at the highest level" since President Rodrigo Duterte himself has given assurance that the obligation would be settled.

"I cannot say (when). I wish I could say within the day but of course, it involves paper work but I can assure you that at least half of that will be paid at the soonest time possible," Roque said at a press briefing.

"We hope to settle at least 50% of that amount as soon as possible and the rest also within a reasonable time," he added.

PhilHealth, which is being investigated over alleged fraudulent schemes that resulted in the loss of funds, owes the PRC some P930 million for the conduct of COVID-19 tests.  

Roque said Duterte is hopeful that the PRC would continue to conduct tests even if the debts are not yet paid. He noted that 112 RT-PCR laboratories and 35 GeneXpert laboratories are also offering COVID-19 tests.

"It’s a matter really of accounting and payment and I am not sure but it seems that we are negotiating the amount demanded by PRC and they said there is no problem with that," the Palace spokesman said.

"So it’s a matter of accounting. PhilHealth, as I have repeatedly said, would not run out of funds because under the Universal Health Care (law), the government shoulders the viability of PhilHealth," he added.

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