Privatizing PhilHealth can send ‘wrong signal’ that gov’t can’t be trusted — Gierran
MANILA, Philippines — Privatizing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will send a “wrong signal” to the public that the government cannot be trusted.
Dante Gierran, the newly-appointed PhilHealth chief made this remark Thursday during the hearing of the House committee on public accounts and the committee on good government and public accountability.
“Kapag i-privatize natin, we people in the government, you know I’m very passionate, ano ang mangyari sa atin sa gobyerno? Are we telling the people of the Philippines and the world na ang mga tao lang sa pribado ang marunong magtrabaho nang tama? Hindi marunong ang mga taga-gobyerno tulad natin?” Gierran said.
(If we privatize PhilHealth, what will happen to the people in the government? Are we telling the people of the Philippines and the world that only those in the private sector can work properly? That people in the government like us cannot do it?)
“Wow, hindi maganda yan (it is not good), Sir. It will send a wrong signal to our people that people in the government cannot be trusted,” he added.
To recall, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the beleaguered PhilHealth abolished or privatized amid allegations of corruption within the agency.
“He said he wanted PhilHealth abolished or privatized but I said it might be better to wait a few months and see how the new administration performs and that I have a bill making the Secretary of Finance the chair of the Board instead of the DoH (Department of Health) Secretary. He agreed to my proposal,” Sotto said.
But Gierran said that while he respects the wisdom of the President, the move may have an effect on PhilHealth members.
“Kapag i-privatize natin ito, saan pupunta itong mga miyembro natin? Sa PhilHealth, meron tayong tinatawag na outright membership,” Gierran said.
(If we privatize this, where will our members go? In PhilHealth, we have outright membership.)
“Kahit hindi ka miyembro kapag pumunta ka sa ospital, member ka kaagad. And then outright eligibility. Saan natin kukunin ito kapag i-privatize natin ito?” he added.
(Even if you are not a member and you go to a hospital, you automatically become a member and have outright eligibility. Where will we get this if we privatize PhilHealth?)
On Tuesday, however, Duterte said that he will ask Congress to abolish PhilHealth.
Privatizing it would not be possible, the President said, because the government has no money.
“The insurance capitalists will say: ‘So we’re going to pay? But you don’t have funds,’” Duterte said, speaking in Filipino.
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