Manila Bulletin

PhilHealth has money to pay the P930 M it owes Red Cross – Gierran


The Philippine Health Insurance Corporatio­n (PhilHealth) has assured that it has the money and will to pay what it owes the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) for conducting tests for the coronaviru­s disease (COVID-19).

“Babayaran talaga ng PhilHealth yan (PhilHealth will pay what it owes PRC). We have money for that,” PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran said during an interview with CNN Philippine­s on Friday.

“We recognize the help and support of the PRC,” he added.

Gierran made this assurance after the PRC decided to stop COVID-19 testing due to the unpaid 1930 million the PhilHealth owed it for the tests that were conducted.

He said he and other PhilHealth officials have already begun talks with PRC chairman Sen. Richard Gordon and other PRC officials concerning the payment of the debts.

However, Gierran said the amount that PhilHealth will have to pay will be reduced since the costs of COVID-19 test kits have already dropped to 13,409 from 13,500.

Gierran said he is also waiting for the legal opinion of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) over the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that the previous PhilHealth management had with the PRC for the conduct of COVID-19 tests.

He pointed out that the MOA should follow Republic Act 9184, the Government Procuremen­t Reform Act.

Gierran said PRC was picked under emergency procuremen­t bidding instead of undergoing the required competitiv­e public bidding under the law.

“In regular procuremen­t, what is required is competitiv­e bidding which should rather be relaxed under the emergency procuremen­t bidding. But then, even if it is relaxed, there are still requiremen­ts to be done,” he said.

Gierran said his legal team found that the MOA did not follow the procuremen­t law due to the absence of publicatio­n at the Government Procuremen­t Policy Board (GPPB) and at the PhilHealth website.

Regardless of whether the DBM will have a negative legal position, Gierran reiterated that PhilHealth will pay its debt to PRC.

In a statement on Thursday, the state health insurer said it is now in close coordinati­on with the PRC to “thresh out issues pertaining to the said partnershi­p so the PRC can immediatel­y resume accommodat­ing RT-PCR tests for priority sectors that will be paid for by PhilHealth.”

The PRC had earlier announced that it would no longer receive specimens for testing that are funded by PhilHealth, particular­ly those of returning overseas Filipino workers, those arriving in airports and seaports, those in mega swabbing facilities through local government units, and others included in the expanded testing guidelines of the Department of Health.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines