Press Release
June 5, 2018


Senator Sonny Angara said the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) should undergo a "comprehensive financial check-up" to determine if the national health insurer is in "the pink of health" resources-wise.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday has replaced PhilHealth's interim president Celestina de la Serna amid controversy about her excessive hotel and travel expenses. Duterte has appointed PhilHealth Board of Directors member Roy Ferrer to replace De la Serna.

"We hope Dr. Ferrer can look after the financials of PhilHealth amidst the allegations of excessive travel expenses, overpayment of claims, and other problems which threaten the financial viability of PhilHealth funds. Every peso misspent is a peso taken away from poor Filipino families who need it the most," Angara said.

The senator noted that there should be a body that will capably track PhilHealth's actuarial life.

"Ideally, it should be the PhilHealth board that shall serve as 'guarantor of PhilHeath's sustainability.' But if the board is subject to political or management capture, its supposed work is compromised. The board should have a long-term view, and should insulate the fund from wasteful or populist programs which shorten PhilHealth's life," he said.

Angara said if oversight had not been lax, questionable expenses like the hotel bills of the previous PhilHealth president would have been flagged early.

He also expressed concern over the alleged diversion of the P10.6 billion funds for senior citizens to the supposed construction of rural health units in 2015.

"Dapat ay siguruhin nating hindi nawawaldas ang pondong nakalaan para sa ating mga seniors. Hindi natin papayagang mabahiran ng katiwalian ang institusyong nilikha ng aking ama na ang layunin ay gawing abot-kaya ang pagpapagamot lalo na para sa mga senior citizen at mahihirap nating kababayan na higit na nangangailangan nito," said Angara, author of the Expanded Senior Citizens law and the Universal Health Care law.

Angara's father, the late Senator Edgardo Angara, is the principal author of the law creating PhilHealth and the Senior Citizens Act.

"We should remember that PhilHealth is a megacorporation. Last year, it spent over P100 billion in payouts. It is also a major recipient of government funds, with more than P60 billion allocated in this year's national budget for the enrollment of 15 million indigents and senior citizens.

"Because of the important role it plays, PhilHealth can't afford to be financially distressed. Kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino ang nakataya rito," Angara said.

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