The Palace reiterated the approval by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the filing of criminal and administrative cases against some executives of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) following the report and recommendations of the Task Force on PhilHealth.
“Sa kabuuan, makikita na ang mga taong inaasahan na magbigay ng polisiya at operational guidelines sa management ng PhilHealth ay walang due diligence sa pagpapatupad ng kanilang tungkulin,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr during his regular press briefing on Tuesday, September 15.
According to the report submitted by the Task Force, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of PhilHealth “have not shown the due diligence required of them in the discharge of their duties,” in particular, on the disbursement of the National Health Insurance Fund.
The report underscored the lack of due diligence and due care in the approval and implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) without sufficient standards, in the approval of PhilHealth’s ICT budget “upon a mere representation of the SVP in charge”, and in the adoption of corporate policies and practices that fail to “check, investigate, prosecute and penalize” wrongdoings of PhilHealth personnel, as well as healthcare institutions and professionals.
Quoting some of the summary of findings of the report, Secretary Roque said that lack of due care, if not outright negligence, was shown by the Executive Committee and the Board in approving and implementing the IRM. The report noted that IRM fund releases were rushed even when the circular implementing the scheme was not yet effective.
“Ipinatupad ang IRM ng walang sapat na standards and guidelines kaya naabuso ang fund releases,” said Sec Roque, again referring to the Task Force’s report and recommendations. It was also found that IRM fund releases were made even in the absence of mechanisms for monitoring fund utilization and liquidation, and without taxes due thereon being withheld.
The Task Force on PhilHealth also found that members of the Executive Committee concealed important information or documents to obtain the approval of the Board on ICT procurement. Also, it was noted that the PhilHealth management adopted “questionable policies and weak enforcement practices that failed to check, investigate, prosecute, and penalize wrongdoing.”
On another matter, the Presidential Spokesperson provided more details on the provisions and fund allocations under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan II, which was recently signed into law by President Duterte. “Tulad ng sinabi ko po kahapon, ang Bayanihan II ay hindi lamang para sa mga health workers. Sa mga gurong nagtatanong, meron pong ayuda na nakalaan sa inyo,” Roque said.
Bayanihan II allotted P300-Million for subsidies and allowances for displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel, including part-time faculty in private and public elementary, secondary, and tertiary schools and universities, as well as for part-time faculties in state universities and colleges.
Meanwhile, TESDA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña presented in the same press briefing TESDA’s initiatives in response to COVID-19, which include upskilling of Overseas Filipino Workers and displaced workers through its online program, its partnership with Globe Telecom on providing access to its online courses even without internet connection, among others.
Lapeña reported on TESDA’s support given to frontliners through the production of personal protective equipment, face masks, face shields, goggles, and sanitizers. Also highlighted was TESDA’s support to affected communities through its farm products (organic vegetables), food packs, baked products, and seeds and seedlings.
On the latest in the government’s COVID-19 response, National Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, who was a resource person in the said press briefing, reported that there are now some 2.9 million individuals who have been tested for COVID-19—which is around 2.6 percent already of the country’s total population. Sec Galvez said that the country’s daily test average is now at 30,000 plus, with 43,554 tests as the highest daily output, which was recorded on 10 September 2020.
The Chief Implementer also underscored that as of September 14, some 24, 538 individuals have already been isolated through Oplan Kalinga in 20 mega temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and 29 isolation hotels. Galvez recommended further an increase in the country’s health care capacity, especially in Regions 3 and 4A, in regional hubs, and in highly urbanized cities by increasing Level 3 hospitals in the regions, re-allocation of funds for increasing healthcare capacity, increasing other essential life-saving facilities, and mobilizing local government units in the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act of 2019. ### OPS-PCOO