Duterte seeks congressional help to address bizmen concerns amid pandemic
President Rodrigo Duterte met congressional leaders in Malacañang on Wednesday night to seek their support to pass a law that will address the concern of the investors and businessmen to prevent red tape amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said among those present in the meeting were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, and Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez.
He said the meeting was about the opening of the economy.
"The concerns of the investors and the businessmen who are greatly affected by the pandemic are how to curb red tape and corruption and to shorten the process in government transactions," he said.
"The President asked the congressional leaders to pass additional legislation or policies to fast-track the process in order to help the businessmen in this time of pandemic," Roque said.
Quoting the President, he said the businessmen raised their concern that they were already afraid of the pandemic and yet the process in the government is still slow.
He said the congressional leaders agreed to study the request of the President.
Meanwhile, asked on the statement of Sotto that Duterte was in favor privatizing or abolishing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Roque said he was not present in the meeting.
But he said, "From my understanding, the position of the President is either to abolish or privatize (PhilHealth) and he mentioned that in a meeting with some members of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force)."
He also said that based on his understanding with Sotto's proposal, the senator wants to give the new leadership of PhilHealth a chance to clean the agency amid alledged massive corruption.
Roque also cited Sotto's proposal that the chairman of the board of PhilHealth be the Secretary of Finance instead of Secretary of Health.
The Senate, which conducted an investigation over PhilHealth mess, proposed that Duque be charged criminally and administratively over the alleged corruption in state health insurer. Celerina Monte/DMS