Duque: No ‘palakasan’ system in PhilHealth

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday faced the Senate Committee of the Whole and denied there is a "palakasan" system in the release of funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), saying they are not tolerating fraud and corruption.

During the Senate investigation, Duque said there is no "palakasan' in the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).

"On the allegations of 'palakasan' system on the release of the IRM, we assure you there is none," he said.

​PhilHealth defines the IRM as "a special privilege for the provision of substantial aid to an eligible Health Care Institution (HCI) directly hit by fortuitous event with clear and apparent intent to continuously operate and/or rebuild the HCI in order to provide continuous health care services to adversely affected Filipinos." 

​The IRM has since been suspended by PhilHealth, amid issues hounding the payment system.

​"IRM is not specific only to the COVID-19 pandemic as it is based on the provisions of the National Health Insurance Act and the Universal Health Care," Duque added.

"My commitment to safeguarding the sustainability of the fund is very personal and I would like to state for the record that I am zero tolerance for fraud and corruption," he futher said.