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PhilHealth sets P30-billion program

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. is releasing an initial P30 billion to accredited hospitals to help them respond to the onslaught of COVID-19.

PhilHealth said the amount is equivalent to three months’ worth of claims based on historical data, which will be charged to their future claims.

“PhilHealth rests on solid ground and with sufficient liquidity to support government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 threat. These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures, and this arrangement will surely… [help] avert the spread of the virus,” PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo C. Morales said.

Meanwhile, the US government has committed more than P139 million in assistance funds to help the Philippines fight COVID-19.

The US Embassy in Manila said on Tuesday that the US government through the US Agency for International Development will collaborate with the Department of Health to establish and implement internationally-recognized infectious disease threat prevention and response strategies, and enhance infection control.

“US assistance will strengthen specimen transport systems and laboratory capacity to accurately and rapidly detect cases,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The assistance also will help protect health workers and patients by ensuring that hygiene products, masks, waste management supplies, and other necessary commodities are available, delivered, and managed appropriately,” it added.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has donated a total of P2.5 billion to the national government to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The amount, which was released in two tranches, “will be used for the procurement of personal protective equipment of health care frontliners, additional operating expenses of the Bureau of

Quarantine, and support for the tests being conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine,” said PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea D. Domingo.

The PAGCOR chief added that the agency’s donation will help ease the funding concerns of the country’s health care sector—especially those who have inadequate supply of personal protective equipment, medicines, testing kits, among others.

The Office of the Vice President, meanwhile, will provide nine government hospitals in Metro Manila with 7,350 personal protective equipment to keep them safe from COVID-19.

“This is part of the OVP’s assistance drive, where millions have also been raised with the help of ordinary citizens, for health workers and front liners in the fight against COVID-19,” Vice President Leni Robredo said in a statement.

Recipients of the aid include San Lazaro Hospital, University of the Philippines-Philippine General

Hospital and UP-National Institutes of Health, and Quezon City’s Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Heart Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Center, Veterans Memorial Medical Center and East Avenue Medical Center.

Also on Tuesday, Akbayan chairperson emeritus Loreta Ann Rosales urged the Department of Finance to release its P27-billion stimulus package to prioritize cash aid to affected workers due to a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Rosales, a former Commission on Human Rights chairperson, said with such a budget, the Department of Social Welfare and Services could be able to continue its pro-poor programs despite the COVID-19 scare.

“Our health and welfare services down to the barangay level need to be enhanced during the implementation of the community quarantine. The people will not die because of the virus, but because of hunger. We cannot tell the people that they stay at home and just obey even if they do not have the food or money to buy medicine,” she said.

“In the P27-billion stimulus package, why is P14 billion going to the Department of Tourism? If the funding is that big, it should go to the waiters, cooks, hotel staff and other workers of the tourism industry. If not, it should go straight to our barangays to do testing and treatment for people affected of COVID-19,” she added.

Topics: Philippine Health Insurance Corp. , COVID-19 , Department of Social Welfare and Services
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