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Start from scratch

"For PhilHealth, there is no other way."

 

With the magnitude of the irregularities uncovered within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, it seems there is not even a glimmer of hope that the state health insurer can still be rehabilitated.

Imagine a three-year-old kid being tagged as a senior citizen and over 50,000 centenarians included in its database?

Even Senator Francis Tolentino was shocked when he uncovered the listings in PhiHealth’s database.

According to Tolentino, while Philhealth adheres to the classification of senior citizen as provided in existing laws, that they should constitute those who are 60 years old and above, he was surprised to discover that included in the state insurer’s database were an 18-year-old and a three-year old qualifying as senior citizens.

Tolentino points to figures which showed that there are 40,000 centenarians in one region, while another region has 10,000 centenarians listed as PhilHealth members. This would make the Philippines the biggest host of centenarians.

With his discovery, Tolentino said that PhilHealth’s records might be bloated and should be cleansed.

While PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales acknowledged the irregularity in their database, even suggesting that the agency is looking at creating a position that would address issues on its database, he again volunteered another anomaly in the list of their members.

According to Morales, they have currently 109 million members listed in their database, the biggest in the country, which is being cleansed from time to time.

However, a check at official records would reveal that as of 2019, Philippine population stands at 108.31 million.

Thus, it would be safe to surmise that PhilHealth’s records of members would include not only the entire population including the newborn, but those who have yet to be born or those who have already passed away.

And that is coming straight for the PhilHealth president’s mouth.

So, how do we eradicate corruption within PhilHealth? No, we don’t. It is beyond rehabilitation. And lawyer Larry Gadon has, what I believe, could be a better alternative – Abolish PhilHealth and restart from scratch.

According to Gadon, PhilHealth must be dissolved, and Congress should create a new National Health Insurance Agency or whatever name it would deem appropriate.

Gadon insists that the trouble with the present set-up is that the top management is too political rather than corporate. He noted that the set-up is now composed of the secretary of the Department of Health as chairman, and officers of the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System, etc. as part of the Board, “as if these people are not too busy with their own departments that they have to be in PhilHealth.”

“These officials are already heavily burdened in their Cabinet and Board positions that their tendency is to miss out and overlook matters in PhilHealth,” says Gadon.

The new corporation, Gadon adds, must be run by professional corporate executives, the caliber of those in the top ten corporations.

And for those who would be displaced by PhilHealth’s abolition, Gadon said they can still apply with the new corporation as long as they qualify and are cleared of any anomaly from the former state insurer.

I honestly believe Gadon’s proposal is more practical and feasible. As long as we get an assurance that the investigation on the alleged anomalies in PhilHealth should still push through and that those found to be liable be put behind bars.

**

With no less than the Department of Education admitting that there are still around 4 million students who have yet to enrol for this school year, President Rodrigo Duterte was moved to accept the proposal of some lawmakers including Senator Francis Tolentino to recommendation to the DepEd the deferment of the opening of classes originally slated on August 24, to October 5.

The President’s order ,which was released yesterday afternoon by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, read: “The DepEd is hereby instructed to ensure that all preparations have been made for the smooth and successful virtual opening of classes for Academic Year 2020-21."

With the adjustment, Education Secretary Leonor Briones instructed schools, even those outside the MECQ areas to continue their orientations, dry runs, and delivery of learning resources so that they would be ready for the opening of classes on October 5.

As main proponent of the deferment of the opening of classes, Tolentino expressed his gratitude to both the President and the Education Secretary.

“I thank President Duterte and Secretary Briones for the timely postponement of the school opening from August 24, 2020 to October 2020, as it addresses the relevant health issues, DepEd preparedness, parent’’s livelihoods and other interconnectivity  concerns,” Tolentino said in a statement.

“RA No. 11480 provides the President the flexibility to do the same. Listening to the voices of other sectors and the LGUs paved the way for this appropriate and humane decision. The extra days given (to) DepEd should enable them to prepare more sustainably given the critical situation we are all in,” he added.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , PhilHealth , Department of Education , Leonor Briones , Larry Gadon , Ricardo Morales
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