Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday said the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is ready to accept the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) payment of P930-million for the overdue balance of the COVID-19 testing of overseas Filipino workers and other individuals.
But Gordon, CEO and president of the PRC, said the state health insurance agency should pay the remaining balance within three days to enable the humanitarian organization to replenish its cash reserve so it can buy additional supplies for their COVID-19 testing.
According to Gordon, PhilHealth’s standing balance to PRC is now at P1.1-billion.
“Kasi sabi nila, babayaran, babayaran. In the meantime, nagpapadala ng mga test, walang tigil ang pasok (they’ve been promising they would pay. In the meantime, they continue to send people for testing. There’s no letup),” Gordon said in an interview over Radio DZBB.
“Kaya kulang yan (P930 million). Wala pa ngang interes yan. Mabayaran lang para makabili kami ng panibagong suplay, (That is insufficient. And it does not include interest. We can accept the payment so we buy fresh supplies),” he added.
“Papayagan namin kung P930 million ang babayaran nila, tapos within three days, bayaran ang balance at mula ngayon pairalin ang kontrata. (We will agree to them paying us the P930 million, then after three days, they should pay the balance and from here on they should honor the contract),” the senator pointed out.
Gordon earlier demanded that the government pay the PRC in full for the COVID-19 tests it administered to arriving OFWs, airport and seaport passengers, front-line health workers, government officials, and others included in the expanded testing guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH).
But the PRC stopped conducting the tests last Oct. 15 after PhilHealth failed to settle its debts. Gordon said PRC will suspend the COVID-19 tests accredited under PhilHealth until such time the state health insurance agency is able to fully settle the unpaid balance.
“Kung hindi kami mababayaran, matutuloy na malubog ang Red Cross sa cash reserve. Nagbibigay din kami sa mahihirap. Tig-P3,500 yun para sa mga taong hindi nabigyan ng gobyerno. (If they cannot pay us, Red Cross would sink on cash reserves. We are also giving to the poor. That’s about P3,500 for people who were not given by the government some financial aid),” he pointed out.
At the same time, Gordon said he is thankful that President Duterte has seen the PRC’s problem and recommended that PhilHealth pay the PRC.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa Presidente, nakita niya ang problem (I’m thankful to the President that he recognized the problem),” he stressed.
“Dapat magbayad sila, legal ang contract. Sinabi ng DOJ (Department of Justice). Lahat ng hiningi nilang papel, binigay namin. (They should pay, because the contract is legal. The DOJ also said that. And all the papers we asked for, we gave it to them),” he reiterated.
Gordon also insisted that the contract between the PRC and PhilHealth is above-board and that they are ready to resume the stalled COVID-19 testing once they have been fully paid.
“Definitely handa na kami. Nag-cut ako ng employees pero sabi ko pagtawag, balik kayo agad. (Definitely we are ready to resume testing. I removed some employees but I told them I they should be ready once they are called again),” the senator said.