Duque to revamp Philhealth’s accreditation unit

Robie de Guzman   •   June 11, 2019   •   1762

MANILA, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is looking to revamp the accreditation unit of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) in relation to the “ghost dialysis” controversy.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Duque questioned the committee for its alleged inaction on the recommendation to revoke the accreditation of WellMed Dialysis Center, the facility being linked to the issue.

The Health official said they have already identified the members of the accreditation unit who may have committed negligence with regard to the controversy.

“It is the accreditation committee where we think nagkaroon talaga ng oversight. That is the subject of the ongoing investigation,” he said.

Duque added that they are also looking into other operating committees within the Philhealth Central office that might also be involved in the multi-million ‘ghost dialysis’ claims issue.

“There is a possibility of connivance, I think, because it’s hard to believe that this will just be happening without somebody from the inside who knows how to circumvent, how to go around the processes of Philhealth,” he said.

Duque also directed Philhealth to identify which among the more than 7,000 claims made in 2018 may be considered as anomalous or fraudulent.

He also ordered for the list of hospitals and other medical facilities that might have asked Philhealth for dialysis payments of already deceased patients.

“I have instructed Philhealth to identify for 2018 7, 213 cases have been filed and how many of those cases account for ghost claims. Kasi marami tayong fraudulent claims, meron tayong multiple filing of claims,” Duque said.

“So ito, talamak din po ito. Ito pong ating mga inappropriate treatment or procedures being done na hindi sang-ayon sa clinical practice guidelines,” he added.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte asked for the courtesy resignation of some Philhealth officials amid the ongoing investigation into the controversy.

Duque said the President expects them to tender their resignation within Tuesday.

However, the health official said he will seek to clarify with the President on who among these executives have been instructed to resign in line with the chief executive’s order to allow the state-run firm to start on a clean slate.

He added that Philhealth officials will have to stay until their resignation letters are formally accepted by the Office of the President. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte orders stricter road safety checks after South Cotabato mishap

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 20, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered stricter implementation of road safety checks after a private truck fell into a ravine in South Cotabato on Tuesday (September 17).

Based on reports, 21 people were killed while 14 others were injured due to the South Cotabato mishap.

According to the Department of Transportation (Dotr), officials from several departments had a meeting with the president on Wednesday (September 18).

The chief executive has ordered to intensify roadworthiness checks, improve driver’s licensing requirements, periodic drug testing, and financial capability checks for operators.

“The chief executive pushed for the urgent nationwide implementation of the PUV Modernization Program (PUVMP) to improve the level of safety and security of passengers,” the Dotr said in a statement on Facebook.

Duterte has also emphasized that private vehicles used beyond their legitimate purpose should be banned.

Vehicles should also have proper road safety equipment and facilities while operators who do not have the financial capability for safety improvements should cease to operate.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the department will improve on road safety through various programs including Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS).

“Ilang buhay na naman ‘ho ang nawala sa atin. Itigil na ang kawalan ng disiplina. Itigil na ang pagiging pabaya sa kalsada. Sa utos ng ating Pangulo, sisikapin naming masiguro na tanging mga roadworthy vehicles lang ang bibiyahe sa kalsada, at lahat ng driver ay may sapat na kaalaman at disiplina sa pagmamaneho, (Several lives have already been lost. Let us stop the lack of discipline. Stop recklessness on the road. According to our President’s order, let us strive to ensure that only roadworthy vehicles should operate and all drivers should have discipline in driving),” Tugade said.—AAC

Duterte orders revamp at BuCor due to corruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the revamp of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) on Wednesday (September 18) due to alleged corruption.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has confirmed that the president plans to remove all the officials and employees at BuCor.

“It’s total revamp. He’ll remove all of them there,” he said. Panelo explained that BuCor officials and employees will be placed on floating status.

“Because of the corruption there. He [Duterte] wants to stop it,” he added.

BuCor is currently facing corruption allegations after 1,914 heinous crime convicts were released through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

During the Senate hearing, several BuCor officials also admitted other irregularities including the “hospital pass for sale” scheme.

The revamp, Panelo said, would give way for the newly appointed BuCor chief Gerald Quitaleg Bantag to freely select the people he would want to work with in BuCor.—AAC

Duterte certifies passage of 2020 national budget as urgent

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 19, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget as urgent.

According to his letter dated September 17 addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives, he wants the immediate passage of the proposed national budget to “maintain continuous government operations.”

“Ensure the budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate,” the letter stated.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the president certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid a repetition of last year’s delay which affected several economic programs of the administration.

“He [Duterte] wants the members of Congress [to know] the importance of passing the budget on time to avoid a repeat of last year’s delay of its passage that wreak havoc in the economic program of the administration, and affected the delivery of basic services to the people,” he said in a statement.—AAC

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