Duterte seeks Philhealth reorganization

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2019   •   2228

President Rodrigo Duterte seeks the reorganization of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) due to alleged corruption issues in the agency.

In a television guesting on Saturday (January 8), President Duterte said the P154 billion-worth of funds allegedly lost to anomalous PhilHealth claims is unacceptable.

“When I go back [to Manila], I’m making the announcement that I am maybe reshuffling the PhilHealth. For the sheer amount that was lost, I have to reorganize your entity,” he said.

The president also believes that the agency should be managed by a member of the military or a businessman to curb irregularities in collecting PhilHealth claims.

President Duterte also reiterated he trusts the integrity of PhilHealth acting president, Roy Ferrer.

“I do not have the slightest doubt about the integrity and honesty of Roy Ferrer,” he said.

The issue stemmed from a report made by Edwin Roberto, a former employee of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center, that WellMed continues to file PhilHealth claims even after their patients have died.

Based on the initial investigation, the Dialysis Center had done the same mode of operation 28 times while 12 cases are still being verified by authorities.

According to Ferrer, there is an alleged “mafia” inside the agency which serves as an accomplice of several hospitals, clinics, and doctors engaged in said anomalous transactions.

“Gusto nila sila nandoon for more than 20 years (They want to stay [in PhilHealth] for more than 20 years) and now we are getting more and more whistle blowers that are coming out to bring forth what they are doing in their respective regions. Marami po mga tiwaling ginagawa po at iniimbestigahan na po natin ito, (there is a lot of corruption and investigations are underway),” he said.

Aside from the reshuffling, President Duterte has also ordered authorities to file charges against the owner of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center and other involved government officials.(with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte says he ordered dismissal of 3 cops in body camera extortion case

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 21, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (November 20) said that he ordered the dismissal of three police officers involved in the body camera extortion case.

The three police officers were allegedly involved in extorting around P5 million from a bidder of body cameras.

“In the police, I—the three majors were working on a body camera and they were arguing because maybe of—because of money. What else? Because of corruption. And so I said, ‘Fire them, dismiss them,'” he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa identified the police officers as Police Major Emerson Sales, Police Major Rholly Caraggayan and Police Major Angel Beros. 

Gamboa also said that he will sign the dismissal papers by Monday (November 25).—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte orders ban on vapes, EO to follow

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a ban on sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who would be caught vaping in all public places across the country.

The President is convinced that vaping poses more harm to people than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

“Vaping is also dangerous and I am banning it, and if you are smoking now, you will be arrested,” he announced during the press briefing on Tuesday (November 19) in Malacañang.

“I am banning the importation. Customs, you listen to it. I’m banning it altogether,” he added.

The President said he will issue an executive order to formalize his directive.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

“I have that urgent power to do it, so I’m ordering it,” he said.

“The EO will follow. I’m banning it because it’s contrary to public safety,” the President concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte defends controversial SEA Games cauldron

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte defended the controversial stadium cauldron for the 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) happening from November 30 to December 11.

The issue stemmed from Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioning the amount spent for the cauldron which allegedly has reached P50 million during the Senate deliberation on the proposed 2020 budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Drilon said such a huge amount could be used to construct school rooms.

The Chief Executive said, the price was reasonable because it included the honorarium for national artist Bobby Mañosa who designed the monument.

“Itong si Mañosa was commissioned to create iyong nakitang kaldero ngayon (what you see now as the cauldron). It is the product of the mind,” the President said.

Based on report, the design alone costs P4.48 million while the foundation costs P13.5 million.

The labor and construction, meanwhile, costs P32 million.

“You cannot estimate how much nalugi ka (your loss) because it is the rendition of the mind of the creator. Kung iyan ang singil niya, huwag mong bilhin kung ayaw mo (If that’s his price, don’t buy it if you don’t like it),” Duterte said. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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