President Rodrigo Duterte assured on Monday, October 19, that the national government will pay the debts of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to the Philippine Red Cross.
“We are just looking for a way to present the solution to sa COA (Commission on Audit) pati sa Budget,” President Duterte said during a televised public address.
“Do not worry. We will pay. It will take time but we will pay. We’ll look for the money. Hindi naman marami but ang priorities natin dito is really medical at treatment, medical attention,” the Chief Executive added.
The Philippine Red Cross, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, stopped conducting 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) tests due to the Php 930.99 million debt accumulated by PhilHealth.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the decision of the Philippine Red Cross could hamper the testing efforts since the organization accounts one-fourth of the testing capacity in the country.
“Iyong Red Cross kasi hindi nabayaran doon sa testing sa COVID. So ang problema nito Red Cross is threatening to, I do not know, but I do not think Senator Gordon would have in his mind to stop. They have, they would continue,” President said
“But what I’m really trying to say is we will pay. Sabihin ko kay Senator Gordon, because he heads the Red Cross, na babayaran ko ‘to. Money has always been a problem everywhere, lalo na mga gobyerno,” he added.
National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and PhilHealth President Dante Gierran have been discussing the issue with Gordon.