News Briefs: Sept. 1, 2019

/ 05:15 AM September 01, 2019

PhilHealth to suspend internal probe



MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHeath) is planning to suspend its internal probe of anomalies in the agency because several agencies are also conducting external investigations of the agency.

PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales noted that the agency was already being investigated by the Senate blue ribbon committee, the Commission on Audit, National Bureau of Investigation, and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.


Last week, the NBI released the names of the 21 officials and employees of PhilHealth it charged for accrediting WellMed Dialysis Center despite findings that it has fraudulent claims. —Jovic Yee

Maguindanao Mayor Ampatuan pleads not guilty to graft

MANILA, Philippines — Sajid Islam Ampatuan, mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha municipality in Maguindanao, has pleaded not guilty to charges of graft and malversation through falsification of public documents charges in two separate divisions of the antigraft court.

Ampatuan was charged in connection with an alleged conspiracy to defraud the government of some P98.249 million worth of public funds in 2009.

Ampatuan also faces four counts of graft and another four counts of malversation through falsification before the First Division in connection with his allegedly anomalous purchase of P29.851 million in rice, sardines, brown sugar and dried fish from Nestor Merchandise in 2009. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu


LTFRB grants 2 taxi franchises in Ilocos Sur


MANILA, Philippines — Soon, riding a horse-drawn carriage through bucolic Vigan won’t be the only way to get around the preserved colonial town.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recently opened the very first taxi services in the Ilocos region in a bid to catch up with the growing tourism demand in the north.

The first two franchises were granted to fledgling Ilocos Transport Coop and Troy Darren Express.

Both have 15 service units each that are allowed to traverse from Ilocos Sur to any point in the Ilocos region.

They will follow the current fare matrix for taxis: P13.5 per kilometer and P2 per minute on top of the P40 flagdown rate.

In a statement, LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra said that the move was part of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program, which aims to phase out dilapidated vehicles. —Krixia Subingsubing

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