Duterte orders detailed report on PhilHealth irregularities

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PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to file criminal charges against its officials involved in the funding of “bogus” kidney dialysis treatments.

In a statement on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said Malacañang is “deeply concerned” about the allegations of “irregularities… particularly those with regard to the reported anomalies in connection with bogus kidney dialysis treatments.”

Mr. Panelo noted that the agency has already initiated “several actions” on the allegations.

He said PhilHealth has filed “several administrative complaints” against those suspected to be involved in the anomaly.

“The President directs the management of the PhilHealth to institute criminal actions against those officials and employees who wittingly or unwittingly allowed such misuse of funds to take place for years,” he added.

He further said that Mr. Duterte has instructed the institution’s acting President “to submit a detailed report on these irregularities.”

“We will put a stop to this corruption and we will make sure that the law on universal health care is strictly enforced,” Mr. Panelo said.

On Thursday, Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, vice-chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, called for an “urgent and comprehensive investigation” on the matter.

“The gravity of the recent allegations should prompt government to check if every peso under the PhilHealth is indeed being used in a manner compliant with laws and the PhilHealth’s mandate. We cannot allow fraud and greed to impede the effective delivery of health services to the people,” she said in a statement.

“This scheme not only steals funds from government, but may have also led to the deaths of people who would have otherwise benefited from PhilHealth’s programs. A response from government is needed,” she added. — Arjay L. Balinbin