State insurance agency Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) owes the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) some P623 million for COVID-19 testing, and the debt keeps piling higher every day, its chairman Senator Richard Gordon said Wednesday.
“It’s really nonpayment of bills on time that is killing us here. They owe us, as of Dec. 1, P623.32 million. It’s a moving target,” Gordon told ANC’s Headstart.
Gordon said the Red Cross spends about P25 million per day for testing, which goes on top of the standing debt PhilHealth owes.
PhilHealth paid some P500 million in October and another P100 million in November.
The latest reports indicate that as of Nov. 5, PhilHealth has paid P700 million to the PRC.
“It keeps on moving and moving and we want to compress [it] in such a way as in the original contract that they owe us only P100 million,” Gordon said.
PRC temporarily stopped its testing of returning overseas Filipino workers arriving in seaports and airports, and from the mega swabbing facilities through local governments in mid-October after PhilHealth failed to pay close to P1 billion.
It resumed operations after the state insurer paid the initial P500 million.
Gordon said PhilHealth President Dante Gierran had assured him that the agency has “plenty of money” and will pay PRC, but he is still worried.
He said PRC and PhilHealth agreed that the bill should be settled within three days upon receipt, but “right now, they’re averaging nine days, sometimes even 12 days before they pay.”
“I don’t want to be a hog and say take pay us first, but you see, I have no choice. If they don’t pay us, then we are forced to stop,” Gordon said in a mix of English and Filipino.
He said the PRC was responsible for 37 percent of the testing being done in Metro Manila.
President Rodrigo Duterte criticized PRC last month for being greedy after it stopped testing when PhilHealth ballooned to P1.1 billion.
Gordon denied the accusation and urged critics to watch what they say because PRC was helping with the COVID-19 tests.