P15-billion funds not missing? PhilHealth releases liquidation report to clear name

March 9, 2021 - 6:18 PM
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Philhealth sign (Philstar.com/file photo)

The state insurer tried to clear its name anew and addressed the longtime question of the public with a liquidation report.

In a social media post on Monday, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation shared an infographic of the liquidated P14.21 billion or 95% of the total interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) released.

 

This amount corresponds to 516 health care facilities of the 711 hospitals in the country where the IRM funds were supposed to go.

The infographic indicated that the partial liquidation reported was posted on Feb. 15, 2021.

The post also attached a link of the full list of health care institutions that received the IRM funds.

In a follow-up statement, PhilHealth asserted that no funds were missing, citing the infographic as proof.

“P15 billion hindi nawawala! Napunta ito sa 711 ospital sa bansa bilang ayuda sa pandemya at para mapanatili silang bukas para sa mga pasyenteng nangangailangan ng gamutan,” it said.

“Properly accounted po ito. Sa katunayan ay P14.21 bilyon o 95% na ang na-liquidate o naisulit na ng mga ospital, katunayang pinakinabangan ito ng mga pasyente at hindi naibulsa ng sinoman,” it added.

The IRM is a PhilHealth program that provides financing or emergency cash advances to medical facilities in public disasters.

The state-owned organization previously told reporters that IRM was used during the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the Marawi Siege in 2017, the Taal eruption in January 2020 and then the coronavirus pandemic in March of that year.

PhilHealth had been hounded with corruption allegations and other anomalies since the past administrations.

In the latest controversy in August 2020, former anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith accused executives of the state insurer of pocketing P15 billion funds.

The public outrage and investigation that ensued prompted the resignation of its former president Ricardo Morales and other senior officials.

Morales and these senior officials were also charged with administrative and criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Calls for separate, independent audit

Social media users and members of PhilHealth are suspicious of the liquidation report. The state insurer’s Facebook post had over 65,000 reactions wherein 62,000 are laughing emojis and 1,500 are angry emojis, as of writing.

In the comments section, Facebook users called on the Commission on Audit to conduct a separate probe and audit of their transactions.

“Summary, yes. Liquidation, nope, at least not a proper one. Show the entirety of your supporting documents properly audited by COA. You owe your members that much,” one user said.

Some Twitter users also quipped that the funds were not missing because they were supposedly stolen.

“Hindi naman daw nawawala yung P15 billion sabi ng philhealth, bale nanakaw lang pala,” the user wrote.

Others were confused on some reports saying that the funds were stolen even before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Pre-pandemic pa nawawala yan tapos napunta sa ospital bilang ayuda?” one user said.

They were referring to an Inquirer.com report about Keith’s testimony last August. In the report, Keith was quoted alleging that the “mafia” within PhilHealth had been pocketing money since 2019.

Morales, however, had insisted that the alleged missing funds were released as IRM for the 711 HCIs.

Last January, new PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran also claimed that such money had already been 92% liquidated.

READ: ‘Transparency please’: Some Filipinos unconvinced PhilHealth liquidated majority of P15-B ‘missing’ funds

“Sa totoo lang po, hindi nawawala, and’yan lang, on record po. Sa ngayon po, 92 percent na ang liquidated. Kaunti na lang po. I will not allow iyong pera ng Pilipino mawala,” he said.