Malacañang has urged the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to resume its COVID-19 testing services as it resolves the payment of the outstanding amount owed by PhilHealth for the tests.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) gave its legal opinion that PhilHealth has to provide partial payment to the PRC while the memorandum of agreement between the two parties is undergoing review.

Harry Roque Jan 4 18 - Palace urges Red Cross to resume COVID-19 testing services

In a statement, Roque urged the PRC to resume its services for tests paid for by the government, eight days after the PRC stopped accepting clients who wish to undergo swab testing if the cost will be shouldered by PhilHealth.

He likewise reiterated President Duterte’s promise to pay PRC for the tests.

“The President has given his commitment that the government will pay its obligation to the Philippine Red Cross,” Roque said Friday.

“Having said this, we call on the PRC to resume its testing services,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Palace official asked the public for their patience, assuring them that the government is already working on settling the issue with PRC.

He likewise reminded them that there are other facilities that can cater to their testing needs.

“We likewise ask the public, including our stranded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and overseas Filipinos (OFs), for their patience and understanding as we resolve this matter at the soonest possible time,” Roque said.

“We have already asked government and private laboratories to assist our OFWs and OFs in their RT-PCR testing,” he added.

On Monday, President Duterte promised PRC that the government will pay the nearly P931 million that PhilHealth owes the organization.

On Tuesday, Roque said that the government will pay at least 50 percent of its debt to PRC the soonest time possible.

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