The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) finally resumed its COVID-19 testing for the government after Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) paid half of its P903-millioin debt to the humanitarian organization.
But Sen. Richard Gordon, who is also the chair of PRC, said they would resume its COVID-19 testing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday night.
“We will test right away. Tonight, I have requested the [PRC] secretary-general and all our laboratories in the entire country to open it to PhilHealth again,” Gordon said in an online interview with reporters.
“And we are going to [conduct] testing tonight from the Manila International Airport (NAIA) first, and tomorrow, regular testing will be conducted in full. So we are ready to test all the people that we have not tested,” he added.
PhilHealth paid P500 million to Red Cross on early Tuesday for the COVID-19 tests done on OFWs and returning Filipinos, among others.
“I think we received the payment already. We asked someone to get the check. It should be in the office already,” Gordon said, speaking partly in Filipino.
On October 15, Red Cross stopped processing COVID-19 tests of those listed in the Department of Health’s expanded testing guidelines (DOH) 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.
Remaining of PhilHealth debt to Red Cross
As for the remaning P500 million, Gordon said PRC is crafting a letter asking the state-insurer to pay its balance immediatelty.
“We’re preparing a letter saying we thank you for your payment but we need you to pay the full amount in accordance with the contract,” he said.
“We’re not asking anything. We’re not even asking for interest. if somebody breaks a contract they’re liable for damages and interest. We don’t have to do that. We’re not in that game,” he added.
The Red Cross chairman said PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran, through a letter to the PRC, said the remaining debt will be paid “once documentary requirements for claims are validated and verified by PhilHealth.”