In a media interview, Senator Richard Gordon bared that the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) failed to settle its debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) which amounts to P1.1 billion already.
Gordon said PhilHealth failed to pay its debt to PRC despite its promises that it will pay on October 26, following the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) legal opinion that the agreement between the state insurer and the humanitarian organization is not subject to the procurement law.
“They keep saying, we will pay, we will pay all throughout,” the senator said, adding that the PRC supposedly has a scheduled flight to China on Tuesday (October 27) to procure COVID-19 test kits and testing equipment, but decided to cancel since no payment was made.
On October 5, the PRC stopped conducting free COVID-19 tests for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), medical frontliners, and other Filipinos due to PhilHealth’s “inability to settle its ever-increasing outstanding balance.”
“I want to solve this problem not because we are Red Cross, but it [COVID-19] endangers our family,” said Gordon, noting that even if President Rodrigo Duterte appeals to them to resume testing, they cannot do anything since they do not have money anymore to replenish COVID-19 testing kits.
The PRC’s testing services make up a significant portion of the Philippines’ testing capacity. The Department of Health (DOH) admitted on October 21 that the PhilHealth-PRC issue is affecting the country’s COVID-19 testing operations.