Gordon: PhilHealth now owes Red Cross P623 million
This July 8, 2020 file photo shows the Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory in Batangas City.
Philippine Red Cross, release

Gordon: PhilHealth now owes Red Cross P623 million

(Philstar.com) - December 2, 2020 - 10:52am

MANILA, Philippines — The debt of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to the Philippine Red Cross for its coronavirus testing services increased to 623 million, the organization’s chief said Wednesday.

Sen. Richard Gordon, Red Cross chairman, said the humanitarian organization is consuming some P25 million per day for COVID-19 tests chargeable to the state health insurer.

“It’s really the non-payment of bills on time that is killing us here because they owe us now as of December 1, P623,321,000,” Gordon said in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart.”

“We want to compress it in such way as the original contract, they only owe us a hundred million so we’re not in trouble because right now, we’re dealing with several systems of disasters in Cagayan, Isabela. Before those, there are disasters in Bicol and these are really hard to reach areas and we’re putting in lots of inputs,” he added.

In mid-October, Red Cross halted its free coronavirus testing for returning overseas workers and medical frontliners after PhilHealth failed to settle its overdue amounts. The state health insurer made its first partial payment of P500 million of its over P1 billion debt on October 27 and Red Cross resumed its testing afterwards.

PhilHealth paid another P100 million to Red Cross in December.

RELATED: Gordon, Red Cross: We’re not' mukhang pera'

Gordon said that PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran has assured him the agency will settle its balance.

 “We talked about it and he (Gierran) said, ‘We have plenty of money, we’re gonna pay. Don’t worry, we’re gonna pay.” Well, I’m still worried,” he said.

Red Cross' testing services make up a significant portion of the country's testing capacity. The humanitarian organization accounts for about 30% of the country’s total coronavirus testing capacity and contributes 38% to Metro Manila’s screening capacity. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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