PhilHealth vowed to pay COVID-19 swab testing debt to the Philippine Red Cross on October 26, 2020.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officially announced that it would settle its obligations to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on October 26, 2020, for COVID-19 swab tests.
This, after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier disclosed that the Department of Justice opined that Philippine Health Insurance Corp. had to provide “partial payment” to the Philippine Red Cross while the memorandum of agreement between the PRC and PhilHealth was undergoing review.
“Having been in receipt today of the DOJ legal opinion saying that the PhilHealth-PRC MOA is not subject to Procurement Law, PhilHealth will release payment on Monday, October 26, 2020,” PhilHealth said on Friday.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. said that its payments to the humanitarian organization will be subjected to completeness of billing requirements submitted by the Philippine Red Cross and in compliance to Commission on Audit (COA) rules as well.
Also, The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. said that this should enable the Philippine Red Cross to immediately resume its testing of COVID-19 swab specimen of concerned sectors which PhilHealth paid for.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the Department of Justice (DOJ) had sent its legal opinion to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Friday noon.
The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. owed the Philippine Red Cross more than PHP 930 million for the COVID-19 tests it conducted.
PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran said that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. wouldn’t pay its COVID-19 swab testing debt until all legal issues about their memorandum of agreement (MOA) were settled.
Philhelath’s refusal to settle its obligation to the Philippine Red Cross for the COVID-19 swab tests it conducted resulted in the stranding of thousands of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) since the humanitarian organization stopped conducting tests.
Under the said agreement, PhilHealth reportedly made an advance payment of PHP 100 million to the Philippine Red Cross for COVID-19 swab testing services despite that Philippine laws mandating reimbursements instead.