The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has paid about P700 million of its debt nearly P1 billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross.
PhilHealth spokesman Rey Baleña also told Dobol B sa News TV that the state-insurer would be releasing P100 million every week to pay its debt on the COVID-19 tests conducted by the PRC.
“We have already paid a total of P700 million to the Red Cross. We still have a balance of P377 million,” Baleña said.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte called the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) “mukhang pera” (greedy) after the government paid half of its nearly P1-billion debt to the humanitarian organization.
During Duterte’s meeting with Cabinet member in Malacañang, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the decrease in reported COVID-19 positives was due to PRC’s suspension of PhilHealth-funded swab tests.
“Nabayaran na po ang PRC at nagbukas na po silang muli kaya patuloy na po ang kanilang pagsusuri ng mga swab specimen,” Duque said.
(PRC has already been paid, and it is open again to continue checking the swab specimen.)
Duterte then commented, “Mukhang pera.”
PhilHealth pays P700M to Philippine Red Cross
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon
, the Philippine Red Cross
chairman, blamed Health Secretary Francisco Duque
III for Duterte
’s “mukhang pera” (greedy remark) against the PRC.
“I think he was misled by the statement. Because the way the predicate was laid by Sec. Duque
was wrong. Sabi niya, nagtest na ulit noong binayaran (He said we continued testing when the debt was paid),” Gordon, PRC chairman said in a press briefing with reporters.
Gordon argued that “we never stopped testing. We started testing in October. And in fact, binabaan na namin yung hinihinging presyo ng PhilHealth. That’s why we tried very hard to bring the price down.”
On October 15, Red Cross
stopped processing COVID-19 tests of those listed in the Department of Health’s (DOH
) expanded testing guidelines per its memorandum no. 2020-0258-A, including overseas Filipino workers, individuals through the mega swabbing facilities and local government units, frontline health and government workers, and those arriving in airports and seaports.