President Duterte is no longer inclined to abolish the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) despite the corruption allegations hounding the state firm.

CLI 54 1024x683 - Duterte won’t abolish PhilHealth as it’s not easy to build a new agency
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(SIMEON CELI / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a taped address Tuesday, the President admitted that it would be difficult to create another agency to replace PhilHealth. Besides, Duterte noted that only (a) “skeletal” workforce has remained in PhilHealth after many officials have either been removed or resigned.

“‘Yung PhilHealth wala na, skeletal ang na-remain diha. Talagang hindi ko bubuwagin ‘yan because hindi ko — hindi madali na mag — it’s not easy really to create another one (On PhilHealth, it’s gone. Only a skeletal force remains. I will not really abolish it because I cannot, it’s not easy really to create another one),” Duterte said.

“But I think by this time marami na kasing na — napa — na-suspend (But I think by this time, many have been suspended),” he added.

The President also cautioned PhilHealth officials who quit their post that they cannot escape liability if involved in corruption. He said the government would still run after corrupt public servants. 

“Sabi ko yayariin ko kayo ‘yung sa PhilHealth at tinotoo ko talaga. Marami na ngayon sa kanila na tinanggal, ‘yung iba nag-resign (I said I will finish all you. On PhilHealth, I kept my word. Many have been removed, others have resigned),” he said.

“You are not allowed to resign to escape liability,” he added.

In his public remarks last month, the President announced plans to ask Congress to abolish PhilHealth as a “surgical move” to address corruption allegations.  Instead of privatizing PhilHealth, Duterte proposed the creation of a new agency to replace the graft-ridden state corporation.

A task force led by the Department of Justice recently filed criminal complaints against several PhilHealth officials officials over alleged fund anomalies. More than 40 other officials have reportedly either opted to resign or retire from their posts amid a corruption probe.

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