PhilHealth insists 98% of ₱15B funds allegedly stolen already ‘liquidated’

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Of the ₱15 billion funds allegedly lost to corruption, 98% have been liquidated, claimed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Saturday.

In a statement released on its Facebook page, PhilHealth said that ₱14.7 billion of the controversial funds have already been liquidated, maintaining its position that the multibillion-peso budget was not misappropriated by its former officials.

“Properly accounted po ito… Pinakinabangan ito ng mga pasyente at hindi ng bulsa ng sinoman,” the statement said.

The state-run insurer stressed that the funds were released to 711 hospitals under the interim reimbursement mechanism, a system where the agency provides an advanced payment for insurance claims.

However, two lawmakers questioned in January PhilHealth president Dante Gierran’s stand on the liquidation issue. Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that “liquidated” funds do not necessarily mean that they were legally disbursed from the beginning.

“If public funds were spent not for Covid-19 as required under the IRM (interim reimbursement scheme), but for dialysis centers and infirmaries which are clearly not authorized, it can still be declared as liquidated, but it doesn’t mean that funds were legally disbursed,” Lacson earlier said.

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said the so-called liquidation “will not just erase the fact that [the fund] was anomalous in the first place.” He also asked the Commission on Audit to carry out a special audit on the matter.

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