Doctor of the poor is new PhilHealth chief
Alex Wongchuking, Mighty Corporation’s president and CEO, has promised to settle every centavo his company owes the government.
“Mon, I’m grateful to President Duterte for giving me the chance to prove our worth to the government,” Wongchuking told this columnist.
The President has demanded that the homegrown firm, which makes cigarettes that carry the company name, pay the government P3 billion in taxes, including fines.
“Pay double and I’ll forget about (your tax deficiency),” Mr. Duterte told Wongchuking.
Mighty owes the government P1.5 billion in taxes.
Speaking of tax evaders, the next target is probably a Chinese-Filipino tycoon who reportedly owes the government billions of pesos in taxes, 10 times more than Mighty’s tax deficiency.
That is, after the President Digong reads this item.
The President mentioned to me the name of the tycoon when I talked to him in his Davao City residence about two weeks before his inaugural in Malacañang last year.
He said the magnate tried to contribute a big amount for his campaign fund but he rejected it.
Had he accepted the money, Mano Digong said, he would be beholden to the super-rich Chinoy, who has many companies.
Since the President was installed in office, I’ve been waiting for the government to pounce on the tycoon, but the hammer has yet to come down.
I wonder why the government has not yet run after him.
I know that under President Digong’s watch, nobody is considered untouchable.
* * *
Dr. Hildegardes “Heal” Dineros, a doctor of the poor, is the new president and CEO of Philhealth, the government health insurance agency which replaced the martial-law-era Medicare.
Dineros, one of the few bariatric surgeons in the country, had taken part in many medical and mercy missions before he was appointed to head Philhealth recently.
He went with mercy missions to areas devastated by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
Not only did he volunteer, he also led missions composed of American doctors to far-flung barrios.
He has performed countless surgeries on indigent patients with deformities, from harelip to hernia, and with afflictions like cancer in the rural areas—all for free.
He is a consultant at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Lourdes Hospital and Delos Santos Medical Center.
A graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas College of Medicine, Dineros is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Philippine Society of General Surgeons.
He teaches spirituality to patients who care to listen.
I know Heal Dineros, whose smile has made many a lass swoon, because he was a permanent fixture in the medical missions of my public service program, “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo.”
I wonder if he can still take part in my future missions, what with his daunting tasks as Philhealth chief.
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