‘Walang laman na P15 billion’ tote bag catches attention at MIBF

September 29, 2022 - 1:48 PM
Photo from Adarna House during the book signing of Edgar Calabia Samar on September 16, 2022 (Facebook/Adarna House)

A photo that featured a tote bag with an interesting text earned buzz on Facebook.

It showed a customer carrying a statement tote bag that reads: “Walang laman na P15 billion.”

The customer was talking to National Book Awardee Edgar Calabia Samar at a book signing event.

The photo was part of a post that local publishing company Adarna House uploaded on September 16.

In the post, Adarna House showed notable moments during Samar’s book signing on that day at the Manila International Book Fest 2022 (MIBF).

The festival ran from September 15 to 18, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The text was referencing the P15 billion worth of funds that PhilHealth executives allegedly pocketed in a fraudulent scheme.

The corruption issue erupted after a former anti-fraud legal officer of the state insurer named Thorrsson Montes Keith disclosed this during a Senate hearing in August 2020.

The controversy sparked a public outrage, particularly from PhilHealth members.

It led to the mass resignation of the organization’s executives, including former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales.

The text in the snapshot revived this topic in online conversations.

It also gained the most traction on Facebook. So far, it has 9,500 reactions, 175 comments and 844 shares.

Some online users who were familiar with the issue expressed amusement about the tote bag in the comments section.

“I see what you did there, Adarna,” one user said.

“My kind of tote bag,” another user commented.

“That little shade,” another user quipped with a fire emoji.

Others also asked where the tote bag can be bought.

“Pa-drop naman ng link sa tote bag po,” one user said.

The brand or store name where the tote bag was bought was not indicated on the post.

An online store named “Tinda Tinda”, however, started offering these statement tote bags and purses after the PhilHealth issue made headlines.

On PhilHealth’s side 

PhilHealth tried to clear its name from the controversy following the resignation of the executives involved.

PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran previously claimed that 92% of the alleged stolen funds had been liquidated.

“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,” Gierran was quoted in a report as saying.

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

In a separate statement, PhilHealth even shared an infographic that showed the liquidated P14.21 billion, or 95% of the total interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) released.

“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,” the state insurer said at that time.

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