The Philippine Star

Palace vows to settle debt with Red Cross

- Alexis Romero

The government won’t renege on its financial commitment­s, Malacañang said yesterday after Philippine Red Cross chairman and Sen. Richard Gordon revealed that the debt of state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to the humanitari­an group has exceeded P600 million.

Last Wednesday, Gordon said PhilHealth now owes Red Cross P623 million for the group’s COVID-19 testing services. He said PhilHealth’s failure to settle its debts on time is “killing” Red Cross, which he said is spending about P25 million daily for tests chargeable to the insurer.

Presidenti­al spokesman Harry Roque said the government has proven its readiness to pay its debts.

“The government is paying its debts.

The national government has proven that it does not renege on its obligation­s. But it has to be verified. This is needed in line with the three- tiered payment scheme of PhilHealth,” Roque said at a press briefing.

Last October, Red Cross stopped its COVID-19 tests for returning migrant workers and health workers because of PhilHealth’s failure to pay its debt, which had ballooned to more than P1 billion.

The group resumed the conduct of tests after PhilHealth settled half of its debt. The state-run insurer released another P100 million last month to partially settle its obligation­s.

“So now, this is undergoing verificati­on, and they (PhilHealth) are ensuring that it is pursuant to the three-tiered payment structure,” Roque said. –

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