The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic should not be a time for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to be thrifty, President Rodrigo Duterte said late Monday night.
In a pre-recorded public address, Duterte urged Philhealth) President and CEO Dante Gierran to exhaust their resources to cover more medical needs arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I told Gierran, don’t save money, it’s not a time to be thrifty,” Duterte said in Filipino.
Duterte earlier directed Philhealth to cover fees incurred by Covid-19 patients waiting in tents and other facilities set up on hospital grounds as they await admission.
He said it is better to have spent money for excess medical needs than suffering from a lack of them.
“Move forward with it if it’s needed by people. Even if it’s not needed yet, place it there since it might be used eventually,” he added in Filipino.
Should their spending be questioned, he said they could easily reason out that there was no way to determine how many people would require medical attention.
“If the time comes they ask ‘Why did you buy too much? Why? Is there a way of knowing how many will contract Covid?” he said in Filipino.
Duterte encouraged all departments and agencies to spend funds as long as they are necessary for government efforts to respond to the health crisis.
“Do not be afraid to spend money because that is intended to be spent. That’s why we include it in the budget because it’s meant to be spent,” he said in Filipino.
He said they could simply write him a letter explaining why the said purchases were necessary.
Duterte vowed to vouch for them if their spending would ever be questioned.
Duterte, however, warned Cabinet officials from engaging in corrupt practices.
“But if it is wrong and there’s money involved at p*t*ng*n*,” he said.
Last week, Duterte urged Philhealth to expedite the payment of claims of hospitals.
Philhealth earlier approved the application of a debit-credit payment method (DCPM) to facilitate the settlement of accounts payable to health care facilities (HCFs) during the state of public health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Duterte’s directive resulted in more public and private hospitals dedicating rooms and beds to Covid-19 patients.