PhilHealth on Friday apologized to the Philippine Red Cross for its P930 million in debt, which led the humanitarian organization to stop COVID-19 tests for frontliners and returning Filipinos.
“Humihingi kami ng paumanhin kung may ganyan na usapin...Nandoon ‘yung pagsisikap natin na ito ay maproseso at mabayaran (We want to apologize if there is such issue...Our efforts to process and pay for the debt are there.),” PhilHealth spokesperson Rey Baleña told Teleradyo.
PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran will address the debt along with the agency's broader relationship with the PRC, Baleña said.
“Meron lang sino-sort out na ilang bagay sa ibang authorities para tiyak po na tayo ay good to go at talagang maayos. Siyempre ito ay pera ng ating mga miyembro (We are just sorting things with other authorities to ensure we are good to go. Of course, this is the money of our members.),” he said.
The PRC stopped RT-PCR chargeable to PhilHealth, but they can still run tests for private institutions and individuals who pre-booked their appointments.
PhilHealth said other accredited testing laboratories can accept specimens for testing in the meantime.
In a separate interview with TeleReadyo, PCR Secretary-General Elizabeth Zaballa called on PhilHealth to settle the debt before tests resume.
“Kailangan naman bayaran ‘yung obligasyon nila sa amin dahil ang serbisyo naman po ay naibigay namin ng tama at mahusay (They have to pay us because we delivered the service right and well),” she said.
The payment will cover the PRC’s operating expenses along with the procurement of test kits from China and technicians’ personal protective equipment.
Zaballa said the PRC agreed to lower the price of COVID-19 swab tests from to P3,409 from P3,500 upon the request of PhilHealth.