By John Clifford Lintao
AS predicted, the debt of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation [PhilHealth] to the Philippine Red Cross has accumulated and now stands at P571 million – and the humanitarian organization doesn’t appear keen on the idea of allowing it to grow bigger.
PRC has in fact urged PhilHealth to settle its P571 million remaining debt as it secured COVID-19 tests from China at a lower price.
According to PRC chairman and concurrent Senator Richard Gordon, Red Cross badly needs to collect so they could secure new testing kits which they were able to haggle for a cheaper price. The national government has earlier imposed on a maximum P3,000 price cap for each test kits.
The Red Cross in October halted coronavirus testing for returning Filipino migrant workers as government’s unpaid dues ballooned to P1 billion. The service resumed after partial payment was made.
“Nagbabayad na sila (PhilHealth) ngayon P100 million every 10 days…At least nagababayad na ngayon. Nahihirapan din kami. Kahapon, may dumating – ang supply ng test kits, P200 million,” Gordon was quoted in a radio interview on Sunday.
“Ang outstanding balance ngayon, P571 million. Sana kung mapapakiusapan idikit na yan… dahil natawaran natin yung China doon. Talagang dikdikan ang tawaran. Makukuha na natin nang mas mura ang test kits.”
Gordon said he would try to lower the price to P3,300. Coronavirus testing for walk-in patients at the Red Cross, however, will be priced at P3,800 beginning December 1.
“Pwera lang pag nagmamadali. Syempre, isisingit mo yan sa linya ng testing,” he said.
The Philippines as of Saturday reported 427,797 cases of COVID-19, with 31,402 active infections, 388,062 recoveries, and 8,333 deaths.