Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG) to conduct a review of the performance of state insurer and government-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and to assess the possible reorganization of the agency in order to address the reported systemic corruption in the agency.
According to Go, the corruption allegations within the agency may already constitute grounds for the GCG to review of PhilHealth’s performance and may serve as a basis to reorganize the agency.
“I am urging the GCG to perform an evaluation of the PhilHealth’s performance to help determine the steps to be taken to cleanse the agency of corruption and improve its services to Filipinos,” Go said.
“Mas marami ang matitinong tao diyan sa PhilHealth, ‘wag nating hayaang makahawa ang mga ‘bad eggs’ dyan sa mga empleyado na gusto lang magserbisyo sa kapwa nilang Pilipino. Pero ang mga kasabwat sa anomalya, ‘yung mga nakikinabang na patawa-tawa ngayon, aabutan din kayo. Yayariin namin kayo,” he emphasized.
Go reiterated that PhilHealth reforms must lead to improved services for Filipinos while restoring the integrity of the agency by eradicating the systemic corruption in the bureaucracy.
“Ang importante po, huwag natin hayaang masira ang serbisyo na dapat nakukuha ng mga tao lalo na sa panahong may hinaharap tayong health crisis. Kailangan masigurong maimplementa ang UHC at mabigyan ang mga Pilipino ng mas maayos, mabilis at maaasahang serbisyo lalo na pagdating sa kalusugan,” he said, referring to the Universal Health Care Law which PhilHealth is the lead implementer. Section 5 of RA No. 10149 or the “GOCC Governance Act of 2011,” provides that the GCG have the power to evaluate the performance and determine the relevance of a GOCC, to ascertain whether such GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized, in consultation with the department or agency to which a GOCC is attached.
RA 10149 also empowers the GCG to recommend to the President the abolition or privatization of the PhilHealth, depending on its findings. Earlier, Go expressed his reservations to privatize PhilHealth, saying: “Alam ninyo itong sa PhilHealth issue, para sa akin po kapag isinapribado po ito, magiging negosyo na po ang PhilHealth. Magiging profit-oriented na po. The business of government is not profit. It is service.” The Senator also gave his support to a measure filed by Senate President Tito Sotto III which seeks to improve the management of the agency’s finances.
“May na-file si SP Sotto sa Senado, ito po ‘yung ia-amend namin ang UHC para ilagay ang Secretary of Finance as Chair po ng PhilHealth. Kasi more on finance po itong PhilHealth. To be fair —very capable po si Sec. Duque but he is very busy right now,” Go explained.
Go also shared that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is open to take on the challenge and has pledged to go after all corrupt individuals within and outside the PhilHealth should the amendment be passed making him the ex-officio Chair of the PhilHealth Board.
To boost efforts to combat corruption, Go urged all government employees to report questionable activities that may be taking place within government offices.
“Andito ang ating Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission. Pwede ninyo isumbong sa kanila at mabilis nilang ginagawan ng report. Pwede rin ninyo dalhin sa Office of the Ombudsman or sa opisina [namin sa Senado]. I-validate natin, huwag kayong matakot, magsabi lang kayo ng totoo,” he ended.