Philippine Red Cross (PRC) would hold its “construction of new provincial molecular laboratories” in several provinces after the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) failed to its P1.1-billion debt, PRC chairman Richard Gordon said.
Gordon said PRC is halting the COVID-19 testing and processing laboratory construction in Quezon, Albay, Pangasinan, Laguna, and the Bangsamoro region.
“No payment as yet despite their numerous announcements that they will pay,” he said.
“How can we test if we do not recover our costs?” he said.
Gordon added Red Cross also needs about $6-8 million (P300-400 million) to pay for COVID-19 test kits and equipment imported from China.
“At the moment, we are almost out of test kits. To replenish, we need to be paid,” the PRC chair said.
“Because of PhilHealth’s promises to pay, we had chartered a flight to China for tomorrow,” he said.
“We will have to cancel the flight tomorrow if no payment is made.”
Red Cross halts lab construction due to PhilHealth’s unsettled P1.1-B debt
PhilHealth earlier committed to pay its P1-billion debt last week. However, it was delayed after the state-insurer said it would consult with the Department of Justice first.
“Philhealth has been perfidious, reckless & they have violated the contract so many times,” Gordon said.
“Philhealth should be ashamed of themselves for betraying our vulnerable people,” he said.
In October, an internal document from PhilHealth – submitted to its chief executiveofficer’s officer- described its agreement with PRC as “irregular” and “illegal.”
Red Cross was responsible for about 1 million COVID-19 tests, or nearly 25 percent of the country’s total 3.8 million tests. The humanitarian organization stopped accepting PhilHealth funded-tests until the latter settles its P930 million debt.
Last week, Red Cross demanded PhilHealth to pay its debt in full before they would resume their COVID-19 testing service to the state-insurer.
“They should pay the whole amount. Because that’s difficult. We’ll be left in the air. They’ll pay in half, leaving a balance of half a billion pesos — what will happen? That amount is going to increase again,” Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of PRC, said in Filipino.