The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 placed more funding for the Department of Health rather than PhilHealth as corruption issues continue to hound the health insurance agency, a senator said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sonny Angara said the bicameral conference committee chose to allot more budget for DOH programs.
“That was a concern. In fact, the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) wanted to give the money straight to PhilHealth to reimburse the hospitals right away. As you know, the Senate is investigating PhilHealth currently and in the course of our investigation, lumabas na may ₱200 billion pa sila na pondo [it came out that they still have ₱200 billion]. In fact I think there is ₱22 billion pa (for) COVID response,” Angara told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
“On paper it’s more than enough. I don’t know what’s taking long, baka maburukrasya sila [if they are too bureaucratic], there are some allegations of favoritism and corruption. In the meantime, we’ll give the health funds to the DOH.”
PhilHealth is under intense investigations after a former employee revealed existing irregularities in the agency’s procurement of IT systems. A series of Senate hearings also brought to surface issues on the misuse of the interim reimbursement mechanism for health facilities, benefits granted to dead and non-existing patients, and the non-filing of cases and penalties by the agency’s legal department amid such allegations.
The Bayanihan 2 stimulus plan aims to revive the Philippine economy which has been suffering due to months on lockdown.
“We cannot get the economy going if people have no confidence that they can go out there safely, kaya nag-iinvest tayo sa health capacity ng ating bansa [so we are investing in our country’s health capacity],” Angara said.