For Senator Richard Gordon, who also chairs the Philippine Red Cross, the number one problem in the government’s COVID-19 response is the bureaucratic procedure in releasing funds allocated to combat the rising number infections.
Gordon said the “lack of urgency in some bureaucrats” is the reason why the Philippines is lagging behind some Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of addressing the global health crisis.
“Bureaucracy is the number one problem. I think the DOF (Department of Finance) should watch it. I think that the Budget and Management (department) and COA (Commission on Audit) should realize there’s a tremendous problem before us, and they should release the money quickly.”
But according to Gordon, the “biggest culprit of all” is the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
To recall, the PRC has been in a tense working relationship with the PhilHealth.
PhilHealth pays for the RT-PCR tests conducted by PRC for returning overseas Filipino workers, as well as frontline health and government workers. Gordon has repeatedly called out the agency for not settling its debts on time.
“Even for vaccination, there was this very, very stupid guy from PhilHealth who said we cannot pay those in tents in the hospital because they are not part of the law. That’s the kind of unmitigated stupidity that we have in our country.”