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10月22日のまにら新聞から

Palace says Red Cross should continue testing as Duterte committed to pay PhilHealth's debt

[ 386 words|2020.10.22|英字 (English) ]

The Philippine Red Cross should continue the swabbing and testing for coronavirus disease of those individuals covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation as President Rodrigo Duterte has committed to pay the state health insurer's debt, Malacanang said on Wednesday.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the government may also pay at least half of the PhilHealth's debt either this week or by next week.

"The President has committed to pay. I don’t think there’s any reason for the Red Cross to doubt that the President is committed to pay. And because of this, I believe that testing should continue because the Red Cross has been assured that they will be paid," he said.

"So, I think it will be paid, if not this week, then next week at the soonest," Roque added.

The Red Cross, headed by Senator Richard Gordon, is trying to collect P930 million from PhilHealth for COVID-19 tests of returning overseas Filipino workers, some healthcare workers, and other individuals.

But since last week, it stopped its services to those individuals covered by PhilHealth due to latter's failure to settle its debt.

Roque has earlier said that the government is trying to haggle with Red Cross on the amount of debt to be paid.

He said the government is giving its utmost priority to settle at least 50 percent of PhilHealth's debt with Red Cross for the interest of the country.

"Because it is to the interest of both Red Cross and the country that we continue our PCR testing since the Red Cross is responsible for 25 percent of all our testings," he said.

Aside from Red Cross, he said there are close to 150 other laboratories, which could do the COVID-19 tests.

"And while we acknowledge that 25 percent testing done by PNRC is substantial, I’d like to assure our people that those who are returning OFWs and returning Filipinos will not have to be delayed really because the samples are still being taken by the Philippine Coast Guard from the airport and the ports, and now they are being sent to alternative laboratories for testing," he added.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said that at least 4,000 OFWs have been stranded in Metro Manila after Red Cross stopped its swabbing and testing. Celerina Monte/DMS