DOJ to issue legal opinion on PhilHealth-Red Cross deal this week – Guevarra

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020   •   447

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) assured it will render this week a legal opinion on the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for the conduct of COVID-19 tests.

“The DOJ is reviewing the MOA between the Philippine Red Cross and PhilHealth and will render an opinion within the week,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

“We’re giving this our preferential attention,” he added.

Guevarra said the review is in response to the request of PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran.

PhilHealth and PRC entered into a deal in May this year for the conduct of COVID-19 tests which will be charged to the state insurer.

The Red Cross, however, suspended the testing last week due to PhilHealth’s mounting debts.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself, in a televised speech Monday, assured to pay off the P930 million debt of PhilHealth to the PRC.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth spokesperson Rey Baleña reiterated that the agency has the funds to pay its obligations to the PRC.

The state insurer, however, wants to thresh out some issues on how to move forward with its partnership with Red Cross to ensure that members’ funds are properly handled and disbursed.

“Nais lamang nito na makatiyak na ang lahat ay nasa ayos bilang bahagi ng pangangalaga sa pondo ng mga miyembro,” Baleña said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

PRC request to hold licensure exams from July to September ‘provisionally approved’ – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has “provisionally” approved the request of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to conduct licensure examinations this year, Malacañang said Friday.

Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said PRC’s request to facilitate licensure examinations from July to September was approved during an IATF meeting on Thursday.

Roque, however, noted that the conduct of PRC licensure examinations is subject to conditions.

These include “PRC’s health and safety protocols and the observance of minimum public health standards, the issuance of the PRC-DOH-PNP guidelines, and the community quarantine classification of the concerned areas.”

According to the PRC website, licensure examinations set to be held in July to September this year include those for nurses, physicians, veterinarians, social workers, landscape architects, professional teachers, among others.

House OKs free annual medical checkup for Filipinos on 2nd reading

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2021



MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representative (HOR) approved on second reading a measure that seeks to provide free annual medical checkup for Filipinos.

During the plenary session on Monday (May 24), lawmakers passed on second reading House Bill 9072 or the “Free Annual Medical Checkup Act.”

The bill aims to enhance programs focusing on preventive and curative medicine as well as disease prevention, disability, and death.

Under the bill, all Filipino citizens shall be entitled to the applicable benefits under the Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Program by virtue of their membership with the agency.

Likewise, members shall be entitled to a free annual medical checkup that shall include blood sugar and cholesterol tests.

Subject to the availability of PhilHealth funds, the bill also seeks an expanded laboratory and diagnostic testing for Filipinos.

AnaKalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor said primary health care includes preventive care, to which medical checkups fall under.

“This bill aims to secure that each Filipino shall be given the chance to have a free annual medical checkup to promote their right to health and health literacy,” Defensor said.

Also, the bill requires PhilHealth to establish a system that allows access to a free annual medical checkup to promote health, identify risks, and ensure early diagnosis.

Philippine Red Cross clarifies it is not into selling vaccines

Marje Pelayo   •   May 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) issued a clarification regarding reports by news outlets saying the humanitarian organization would be selling  COVID-19 vaccines developed by American pharmaceutical firm Moderna to the public.

The news reports quoted PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon to have said that those who cannot wait for the free jabs from the government may pay the organization P3,500 for two doses of Moderna vaccine.

“To set the record straight, PRC Chairman Richard Gordon never announced that the Red Cross is selling vaccines. He stressed the need to act fast and vaccinate as many people as we can,” explained PRC governor Ma.Carissa Coscolluela.

Coscolluela noted what Gordon meant was, the PRC has procured Moderna COVID 19 vaccines and intends to vaccinate Red Cross members and donors, who are also PRC members and are willing to bear the cost of the vaccines.

The overall cost, Coscolluela said, would be US$26.83 (P1,284) per dose plus an administration fee that covers cost for syringes, gloves, PPEs, meals and allowances of PRC doctors and nurses, and other essential expenses related to the vaccination.

“The PRC is a humanitarian organization and is not in the business of selling any vaccines. It does not charge for anything that it got free,” Coscolluela stressed.


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