Roque said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV that he obtained a document indicating PhilHealth gave P300 million each for hospitals in the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas despite the regions’ low number of COVID-19 patients.
The Palace official believes the budget should have been allocated to hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu, where there is a surge of cases.
“Bakit hindi ninyo binigay sa Region VII, sa Cebu na malalaki ang kaso. Bakit hindi ninyo ibigay sa Metro Manila, alam naman na natin kung saan ang epicenter. Bakit nagbigay kayo ng P300 million sa mga lugar na kakaunti lang ang kaso ng COVID?” he said.
(Why not give it to Region VII or Cebu where cases are high? Why not to Metro Manila, the epicenter? Why did you give P300 million in areas where there are only a few COVID cases?)
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales said in June that the agency could have a fund deficit by 2024 based on the current COVID-19 scenario in the country.
The state insurer projects a P40.7 billion for COVID-19 financing it has to cover. Morales also revealed that PhilHealth collections are decreasing amid the health crisis. He said the Philhealth is also taking a “very prudent approach” regarding the new package rates under the UHC. He recommended postponing the implementation of the UHC and primary care benefit expansion.
But Roque insisted corruption, not COVID-19, is draining PhilHealth’s funds.
Roque said there is still corruption in Philhealth even after President Rodrigo Duterte changed its leadership in 2019 following allegations that the agency used its funds to pay for non-existent dialysis patients.
The Palace spokesperson announced today President Rodrigo Duterte already ordered to probe the alleged anomalies inside Philhealth, following the resignation of three officials due to the “widespread” corruption in the agency.
“We view the allegations of Mr. Keith as a serious matter and therefore enjoin him, and other officials, to cooperate with the ongoing investigation,” Roque added.