A ‘rich, competent’ businessman must lead PhilHealth – Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — Amid latest allegations of corruption in the state health insurance firm, Senate President Vicente Sotto III thinks a rich and competent businessman should be at the helm of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Sotto also urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to replace PhilHealth officials in “controversial” positions.
On Tuesday, Sotto led a Senate investigation on claims of widespread corruption within the agency.
“Sa ngayon…sinubukan ng doktor nung araw pa, hindi daw mahusay ang pagpatakbo. Pinalitan military, eh mukhang hindi rin maayos ‘yung takbo. Businessman ang ilagay mo,” Sotto told reporters in an online interview when asked who may be qualified to head PhilHealth.
(Right now…a doctor was appointed but was not effective. A former military man was then placed at the helm but it seems that the way the agency is run is still not effective. You should appoint a businessman.)
“Dahil ang PhilHealth negosyo eh. Parang negosyo. Business ‘yan eh. Kung meron kang businessman na magaling, na matino, na makukumbinse mo na tanggapin ‘yan, palagay ko ‘yun ang solution,” he added.
(PhilHealth is a business. It’s like a business. If you have a businessman who is good at what he does, who has integrity, and who you can convince to accept the position, I think that is the solution.)
“’Di mo kayang lokohin sa pera ‘yung businessman,” he further said.
(You can’t fool a businessman when it comes to money.)
Sotto further underscored the need to appoint someone with integrity in order to ensure that PhilHealth will not be treated as a money-making business.
“Kaya nga pipiliin mo yung businessman na ilalagay mo roon. Kailangan ‘yung businessman na ilalagay mo una sa lahat mayaman, pangalawa magaling,” he said.
(That’s why you should be careful in picking a businessman. You need to appoint someone wealthy, someone who is competent.)
He even said a businessman of the same caliber as San Miguel president Ramon Ang would be a good candidate to lead PhilHealth.
“Kung tatanggapin nga lang ni Ramon Ang ‘yan, sigurado tayong malinis ‘yan. ‘Yung ganong klase ang ilagay mo run, tignan mo kung hindi napakaganda ng takbo niyan,” he added.
(Only if Ramon Ang would accept, I’m sure that’ll be neat. That type of businessman should be placed there, you’ll see its operations will be smooth.)
In July 2019, Duterte appointed Ricardo Morales, a retired Army brigadier general, as PhilHealth president and CEO supposedly to rid the agency of corruption.
But a year later, Morales admitted during the hearing that he has yet to fire a single PhilHealth official due to corruption, citing a lack of substantial evidence against them.
Sotto as well as other senators likewise criticized the PhilHealth chief for promoting four officials who are currently facing graft complaints about their alleged involvement in the WellMed “ghost” dialysis scam that was uncovered in 2019.
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