Review of PhilHealth budget use pressed

HOUSE Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda is calling for a review of the 2017 and 2018 budget utilization of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Legarda made the call following revelations of corruption in the agency.

“The misuse of PhilHealth funds is unconscionable especially during this time of the pandemic when the health of the people is on the line,” Legarda said.

According to Legarda, as a former Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, she sponsored the augmentation of the PhilHealth budget by P3 billion under 2017 GAA to ensure that health services are also extended to indigent non-member patients through a Point of Service (POS) Program and the same amount for 2018.

Another P3.5 billion was augmented specifically for government employees because the health of the public deserves to be on top of government priorities, Legarda said. 

The House Committees on Public Accounts and Good Government and Public Accountability have conducted joint hearings on the allegations of corruption, fraudulent medical claims, mismanagement and negligence allegedly committed by officials of Philhealth.

“I urge the House Committees to dig deeper and expand their inquiry into the status of these amendments. The augmentations were supposed to cover all Filipinos, even those not yet enrolled in PhilHealth, those not formally employed, and those financially incapable to pay their membership contributions can still avail of free health services in government hospitals in the country,” Legarda said.