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43 PhilHealth officers quit

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:36 AM October 09, 2020

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Thursday said 43 senior officers heeded an order of its newly appointed president and CEO, Dante Gierran, to resign in his bid to reorganize the corruption-tainted state insurance company.

Of the 43, 27 tendered courtesy resignations, including 21 from the central office and six from regional offices, PhilHealth said in a statement on Thursday night. It said 10 from the central office and six from the regions opted to retire.

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PhilHealth did not identify the officers and gave no other details.

Gierran’s Sept. 30 memorandum implemented a 2019 board resolution “directing all senior officers from Salary Grade 26 and above to tender their courtesy resignation,” PhilHealth said.

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Corporate cleansing

A spokesperson for PhilHealth last week said the memo was “pursuant to the directive of President Duterte to cleanse the corporation of dishonest people, thus giving PhilHealth a fresh start to stay true to its mandate.”

Before the resignations and retirements, PhilHealth had 66 officials with Salary Grade 26 and above, but many of them only hold their posts in acting capacity.

Resigned PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales had said that he did not implement the board resolution when he assumed office because “it would be too disruptive to the corporation.”

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Gierran’s directive was the “fastest way” to reorganize the state health insurer. He noted that Gierran, a former director of the National Bureau of Investigation, had only until the year-end to rid the PhilHealth of corruption.

“We are confident that he will have very good information that would guide him on whose resignation to accept,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines last Friday.

NBI complaint

The NBI last week filed graft charges against Morales and eight other PhilHealth officials for alleged conspiracy to pay more than P2.7 billion to 139 hospitals and other health-care institutions (HCIs) in Metro Manila, many of them maternity clinics and dialysis centers which served no COVID-19 patients, in violation of the state insurer’s own guidelines for supporting medical responses to the pandemic.

The NBI complaint said the PhilHealth officials were involved in the highly questionable release of funds from the P30-billion interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).

The IRM is a funding measure to reimburse HCIs to allow them to continue responding to a national emergency or calamity, such as the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in 2013 and the Marawi siege in 2017. In the current crisis, it is for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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