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Gordon: PhilHealth owes Red Cross P822M for COVID-19 tests

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) currently owes the Philippine Red Cross around P822 million for COVID-19 tests, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said Sunday.

In a "Dobol B TV" interview, Gordon said PhilHealth's debt to PRC has ballooned as the government health insurer only pays by installment.

"Ang utang ng PhilHealth ay umaabot sa P822 million" (Its debt now reaches P822 million), Gordon said.

"Binabayaran nila paunti-unti. Inaabot na nung hindi nababayaran araw-araw," (They pay on installment basis, but daily dues outpace payment releases, debts keep piling up), he said.

Gordon expressed frustration that PhilHealth is not being prompt in its payment to the PRC. He said that PhilHealth earlier vowed to pay P200 million per week, but it failed to keep the promise. 

He pointed out that the PRC needs the funds to be able to compensate their medical technologists, procure supplies, and build facilities.

Gordon suspects that an entity may benefit in case PRC stops its COVID-19 testing efforts.

"Kung minsan nagsususpetsa ako, meron silang alaga siguro, na kapag nagsara kami kikita yang mga yan," he said.

[Sometimes I can't help but suspect they are protecting an entity or somebody, and at the moment the PRC stops the tests due to lack of funds, that will make profit.]

"Wala naman tayong pinag-uusapang tumigil. Pero kapag biglang tumigil yan, alam niyo na kung bakit"(We don't want to stop conducting tests. But when we do, you know why), Gordon added.

Gordon said that if PhilHealth will not pay up its debt, then the PRC may as well stop conducting COVID-19 tests again chargeable to the state health insurer.

"Hindi naman ako naniningil basta-basta, kailangan lang talaga makapagpatuloy at ma-keep up natin ang ginagastos ng Red Cross sa mga Medtechs at sa lahat. Yung gobyerno, kusang-loob nilang tulungan kami" (I'm not asking them to pay right way, but we should be able to keep up with our expenses so we can pay for our Medtechs. The government should help us), he pointed out.

Back in October last year, PRC halted conducting COVID-19 tests chargeable to PhilHealth after the latter failed to settle its outstanding balance amounting to nearly P1 billion.

PRC has since resumed testing after PhilHealth settled half of the balance. —LBG, GMA News