Gordon slams PhilHealth over failure to settle debt to Red Cross on promised date

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2020   •   156

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard Gordon, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), on Tuesday lashed out at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) after it failed to pay its debt on Monday.

“PhilHealth owes PRC P1.1 billion already. No payment as yet in spite of their numerous announcements that they will pay,” Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon said the PRC supposedly has a scheduled flight to China on Tuesday to procure COVID-19 test kits and equipment worth $6 million to $8 million but had to cancel since no payment had been made.

He said the PRC would have to re-schedule the flight and wait for another week to secure permits from the Chinese government.

With its failure to pay, Gordon blasted PhilHealth for being “very reckless,” and “very irresponsible.”

He also lamented PhilHealth’s giving of excuses on such as serious and critical matter.

“It’s up to them. They don’t pay, kung may mangyari diyan, then sila bahala. Nasa konsensya nila yan kapag may namatay,” he said in a separate media interview.

The PRC last week stopped the conduct of the PhilHealth-covered COVID-19 testing due to the agency’s outstanding balances.

Gordon said he is “totally perplexed” on why PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran is reluctant to pay PhilHealth’s debt, saying that his “fear” may be delaying the settlement.

In a message, PhilHealth said it will release a statement once it has issued the cheque for the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the government will find another way if the PRC will not heed its call to resume testing despite the proposal for PhilHealth to provide partial payment.

Gordon earlier insisted that the PRC must be paid in full.

“Kung talagang hindi natin mapipilit ang PRC na bumalik, maski ang offer po ngayon ay 50 percent na babayaran, wala po tayong magagawa. Kailangan pong humanap tayo ng mga alternatibo,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)



Philippine Red Cross lowers COVID-19 swab testing fees effective Dec. 1

Marje Pelayo   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Sunday (November 29) said it is lowering its fees for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab testing effective Tuesday (December 1).

From the current P4,000 per test, the PRC lowered the cost to P3,800 for private clients, walk-in clients and inbound passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The said lowering of fees is in line with the agency’s effort to help more Filipinos get tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the PRC said P4,800 will be charged for expedited test with a turnaround time of 12-24 hours, while paying local government units (LGU) will be charged P3,300 per test.

Institutions that charge their tests to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will have to pay P3,409 per test.

“Natawaran natin ang China na makuha natin nang mas mura ang test kits (We were able to bargain with China to give us a more affordable price for the test kits),” said PRC Chairman Senator Richard Gordon. 

“Kung mapapababa pa natin ang bayad sa test kits, ibababa pa natin iyan para mas marami ang ma-test (If we can purchase the test kits at a cheaper price, we will lower the fees even more so many can get tested),” he added.

As of November 29, the PRC has tested over one million people in its molecular laboratories all over the country that could test 44,000 tests a day in total.

“The lowering of prices would give way to more Filipinos to afford Covid-19 testing and would help stop the spread of the virus,” said Gordon.

Some evacuees to undergo COVID-19 antigen testing – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Testing for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being rolled out in evacuation centers where thousands of residents are staying after they fled their homes during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, last week, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government will use antigen tests which analyze nasal and oral specimen and can yield results in minutes.

Roque issued the statement in response to the appeal of the OCTA Research Team to local government units to ensure enough and accessible testing, effective contact tracing and the establishment of isolation facilities for evacuees to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

“Bago pa po imungkahi yan ng OCTA research group. Inaassure ko po kayo na in-place na po yung polisiya ng gobyerno na magbigay po ng COVID testing sa mga evacuation centers. Ngayon po, ang gagamitin nga po natin, mas marami at mas mabilis ay ang antigen testing sa lahat ng ating evacuation centers,” he said.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier warned of a strong possibility of COVID-19 transmission in evacuation centers if minimum health protocols are not strictly observed.

Persons who are at risk of developing severe COVID-19, including the elderly, pregnant women, and those with underlying health problems should be placed in separate quarters, the DOH added.

Roque, however, said that not all evacuees will be subjected to COVID-19 testing as those showing symptoms of the viral respiratory disease will be prioritized. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

COVID-19 testing service ng PH Red Cross sa NAIA, hindi pa naibabalik

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi pa rin umano naibabalik ang COVID-19 testing ng Philippine Red Cross (PRC) para sa overseas Filipino workers (OFW) na dumarating sa Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Ayon kay Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Office of the Transportation Security (OTS) head, Undersecretary Raul del Rosario, hinihintay pa ng One-Stop-Shop (OSS) ang opisyal na koordinasyon mula sa National Task Force para sa pagbabalik ng COVID-19 testing na ginagawa ng PRC sa NAIA.

Ang OSS ay joint initiative ng DOTr at OTS para magbigay-ayuda, kabilang na ang pagsasagawa ng swab testing, sa mga turista, locally stranded individuals at mga OFW na umuuwi sa bansa sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.

Habang suspindido pa ang serbisyo ng PRC, tiniyak ni Del Rosario na magpapatuloy pa rin ang pagproseso ng 12 laboratoryo sa swab testing ng mga OFW.

“There are social media stories about the resumption of the swabbing by Red Cross. As head of TGMROF, pending official instructions from the NTF Chair, the government will continue to render FREE RT-PCR related services to all returning OFWs. As what we have collectively done, we shall continue to aspire to give the most efficient service to these OFWs,” ang pahayag ni Del Rosario

Una nang sinabi ni PRC chairman, Senator Richard Gordon na ibabalik na ng Red Cross ang swab testing services nito na sagot ng Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) matapos bayaran ng ahensiya ang kalahati sa higit P1 bilyon nitong utang sa PRC noong Martes.

Noong nakaraang linggo ay itinigil ng PRC ang COVID-19 testing services nito na binabayaran ng PhilHealth dahil sa lumulobo nitong utang.

Ngunit giit ni Gordon, kailangan pa ring bayaran ng PhilHealth ang natitira nitong balanse sa loob ng susunod na tatlong araw alinsunod sa pinasok nilang kontrata.

“We are not waiting. We’re preparing a letter, saying we thank you for your payment, but we need you to pay the whole amount in accordance with the contract,” ang pahayag ni Gordon.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang tugon ang PhilHealth sa pahayag ni Gordon. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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