Zubiri wants ‘untainted’ Neda chief Karl Chua to ‘overhaul’ PhilHealth
MANILA, Philippines — With untainted credibility and an extensive experience with numbers, Acting National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Secretary Karl Chua is what beleaguered Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) needs at its helm.
This was according to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who vouched for Chua, saying that the former finance undersecretary would be able to detect any discrepancies in the release of PhilHealth funds.
“He was my choice. Maraming nagsasabi, ‘Sino naman pwede natin ilagay diyan, isang military ulit o isa pang doktor.’ Sabi ko, ang pinakamagandang ilagay bilang pinuno ng PhilHealth ay isang finance expert from the private sector or a finance expert even within the government system,” Zubiri told reporters in an online interview on Wednesday.
(A lot of people saying “who can we put in PhilHealth, a military man or doctor again?” I said the best guy to assign as head of PhilHealth is a finance expert from the private sector or a finance expert.)
“Unquestionable po ang kanyang kredibilidad. Dati siyang DOF (Department of Finance) undersecretary, he’s now acting secretary of NEDA, I’ve never heard of any complaint when it comes to his credibility or his work ethic,” he added.
(His credibility os unquestionable. He’s a former DOF undersecretary.)
According to Zubiri, Chua has helped the legislative branch in scrutinizing previous national budget proposals as well as in the crafting of several revenue measures.
“Numbers guy ‘yan. Talagang nakikita niya yung pinakamaliit na pondo na nailalagay sa iba’t-ibang mga sektor ng ating budget. So yan ang kailangan natin. Sanay na sa budgeting yang si Karl,” the senator said.
(He’s a numbers guy. He can really look into the smallest things where funds from our budget are being placed in different sector. So that’s what we need. Karl is used to these kinds of budgeting.)
“Mahuhuli niya itong mga discrepancies na ito…The discrepancy and anomalies within PhilHealth. Talagang ingat na ingat siya sa mga numero and that is what we need,” he added.
(He can catch all of these discrepancies… The discrepancy and anomalies within PhilHealth. He is really careful about numbers and that is what we need.)
Zubiri also proposed an “overhaul” of several key positions in PhilHealth.
“If you put him (Chua) alone, hindi niya kaya yan. Sabi ko nga may mafia dun e. It’s a well-acknowledged fact na may mafia daw sa loob ng PhilHealth,” he said.
(If you put him alone, he can’t do it. As I say there is mafia there. It’s a well-acknowledged fact that there is a mafia inside PhilHealth.)
“Kung ilagay mo diyan si Secretary Karl Chua—who I know will do a fantastic job—he cannot do it alone, kailangan ma-overhaul niya ang positions of trust and confidence,” he added.
(If you will put there Secretary Karl Chua–who I know will do a fantastic job–he cannot do it alone, he needs to overhaul the positions of trust and confidence.)
“My recommendation is to actually overhaul almost all key positions in PhilHealth para magkaroon po ng panibagong liderato, clean slate,” he further said. (So there will be a new leadership)
Currently, Ricardo Morales, a retired Army brigadier general, heads PhilHealth.
He was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2019 to supposedly rid the agency of corruption. But more than a year later, PhilHealth has once again found itself facing investigations into fresh allegations of corruption within the agency.
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