MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Friday said a fresh investigation should be conducted into the alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) following the resignation of one of its officers.
“There must be a full blown Senate investigation. Allegations and denials abound therefore diligence is necessary,” Sotto said in a statement.
“Where there is smoke, there is fire!” he added.
Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith resigned from his post in PhilHealth citing “widespread corruption” in the agency as one of his reasons for quitting. He also said in his resignation letter that the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contribution by overseas Filipinos workers was “unconstitutional” and against his personal values to let OFWs “pay for the spillages” of the agency.
He also claimed that there is rampant and patent unfairness in the agency’s promotion process, and that his salary and hazard pay has not been on time since he started investigating Philhealth officers as its “anti-fraud legal officer.”
According to Senator Panfilo Lacson, he is now drafting a resolution seeking for an inquiry into the issue.
“I am now drafting a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry. As expressed by SP Sotto to me last night, this inquiry will be one of the Senate’s top agenda after our session resumes on Monday,” Lacson said in a separate statement.
Reports quoting sources said that corruption claims were the topic of an online meeting that led to a shouting match between Philhealth officials on Thursday evening.
“That such corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable,” Lacson said.
“Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law,” he added.
Last year, the Senate launched a probe into alleged conflict of interest between PhilHealth and the Department of Health. The investigation also covered DOH contracts that went to pharmaceutical firms owned by relatives of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales earlier denied claims of widespread corruption in the agency and called on Keith to substantiate his allegations. He also said that Keith only raised the issue after his application for another post at the agency was turned down.
Morales also denied the alleged resignation of two other PhilHealth officers due to corruption allegations. He said his head executive assistant resigned to pursue his doctoral studies while a corporate counsel denied any news of quitting his post. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
The Department of Social and Welfare and Development (DSWD) has received rice donation from the Government of the Republic of Korea for the country’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista received the donation from Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man in a simple turnover ceremony on July 17.
The donation is a total of 200 metric tons of locally-produced and well-milled rice with an estimate worth almost P10 million. The rice stocks were sourced from Filipino farmers groups from Western Visayas and will be distributed to an estimated 33,334 households or 166,670 individuals.
Bautista expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Korea for the aid and emphasized that the donation represents the goodwill and warm-heartedness of the South Korean people towards Filipinos.
“During these trying times, we emerge stronger because of our robust partnership and unwavering engagement,” he said. AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has announced that starting this year, an annual budget of P100,000 will be allocated for each of its field offices to provide assistive devices for persons with disability (PWD) in the country.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the DSWD said the move is in line with its mandate of providing programs and services to vulnerable sectors, especially the PWDs.
“The person with disability sector is among the most affected by the declaration of community quarantine brought about by the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” it said.
“To help them regain and develop their self and social enhancement, the DSWD, through its Field Offices will provide augmentation support for the assistive devices of blind and low vision, deaf/hearing impaired, and orthopedically and physically challenged individuals,” it added.
The DSWD said these devices may include talking laptops and tablets, talking canes/smart canes, and Braille system for the blind and visually impaired; hearing aids with beamforming technology, customized headphones, and Cochlear implant for deaf and hearing impaired; motorized wheelchair, customized wheelchair, tri-wheelchair bike, talking watch, customized artificial eyes, and neuro-prosthesis for the orthopedically and physically challenged.
“Persons with disability may request for the augmentation support of their assistive devices through the Focal Person on Persons with Disability Welfare Program and Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) at the Crisis Intervention Units (CIUs) of the DSWD Field Offices,” the department said.
With the current situation, the DSWD said PWDs may send representatives to apply and claim for assistance at the field offices in their areas.’
Social Welfare Action Development teams in the provinces are also mobilized to accept applications and send these to the Field Offices for processing, it added.
To avail of the assistive devices, the PWDs are advised to prepare and submit the following documents:
Medical certificate indicating the disability with date issued
Full name and signed by attending physician which will be valid for 3 months
Request for assistive devices and quotation showing the amount of the assistive device
Barangay Indigency Certificate of the person with disability or client
One valid identification card
“The Department hopes that through these assistive devices, the persons with disability will continue to be productive and contributing members of society, despite their disability, in these critical times,” the DSWD said.
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