Press Release

Palace vouches PhilHealth chief’s competence

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr. vouched for the competence of former National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), asserting that Gierran met the required experience and qualification.

In his September 1 press briefing, Secretary Roque said that Gierran’s management experience qualifies him for the top post.

“Bakit po siya itinalaga? Ang problema po sa PhilHealth kurapsyon. So naisip po ng Presidente ang pinakamagaling na italaga dyan, number one, yung meron nang kakayahan mag-conduct ng mga imbestigasyon. At ito nga po si Director Gierran,” explained Sec Roque.

The Palace official also said that the PhilHealth chief’s post requires someone who can understand financial reports, financial records, as well as balance statements. “(S)i Director Gierran po, siya po ay CPA-lawyer…At mas importante nga po sa paglilitis sa mga magnanakaw diyan sa Philhealth yung nakakaintindi ng mga financial reports,” Roque stressed.

The President’s spokesman underscored that since the alleged crimes in PhilHealth are “white-collared crimes”, Gierran is the best choice to lead the agency. “Wala naman po siyang bahid ng korapsyon. He’s a CPA-lawyer and a seasoned investigator. Indispensable po para malinis ang PhilHealth,” noted Roque.

In the same press briefing, Secretary Roque stressed that projects involving Chinese companies will push through despite the recent policy and action of the United States regarding Chinese companies. “Sangley Project will continue,” underscored Roque.

He further explained that this is line with the country’s independent foreign policy. “Tayo po ay malaya at independienteng bansa at kinakailangan po natin ang mga namumuhunan galing po sa bansang Tsina,” Roque said.

“We are not a vassal state of any foreign power and we will pursue our national interest. Ang pang-nasyonal na interes po natin ay masigurado matapos po ang mga flagship projects under the government’s Build Build Build program,” Roque emphasized.

Meanwhile, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel E. Avisado discussed in the same press briefing, the state of the country’s national budget and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Expenditure Program.

Secretary Avisado reported that for the first seven months of the year, 94 percent of the FY 2020 National Budget, amounting to P3.85 trillion, has already been released to various departments and agencies. Of the FY 2020 budget, some P389.06 billion was released for COVID-19-related expenditures. Some P140 billion more is to be released by the DBM in support of the Bayanihan 2 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.

On the FY 2021 National Expenditure Program, Avisado said that the P4.506 trillion budget is still subject for scrutiny, deliberation, and approval of Congress.

Under the proposed 2021 budget, the education sector will receive the highest budget among other government departments, with P754.4 billion. The Department of Public Works and Highways is ranked second with a proposed P667.3 billion budget, followed by the Department of Interior and Local Government with P246.1 billion proposed budget allocation. ### OPS-PCOO