Thursday, October 17, 2013

Community based health NGO dubs Philhealth execs’ bonus as insensitive and scandalous

A non-government health group decried Philhealth’s hefty perks and excessive bonuses and allowances and dubbed it as “insensitive and deplorably immoral.” “While thousands of Philhealth members agonize in pain over disallowed reimbursements and limited coverage, their officials, employees and contractors received P1.448 billion in 2012 according to a Commission on Audit report released October 10, 2013 despite a P3.8 billion shortfall in reserve fund requirement ,” said Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, executive director of Council for Health and Development (CHD).

Philhealth retained P115.08 earnings last year which fell P3.8 billion short of the prescribed P118.76 billion fund requirement to ensure viability and sustainability of the National Health Insurance Program.

Citing the exuberant allowances and bonuses as insensitive and deplorably immoral, Dr. Jara said Philhealth “presents a crude disparity between its members and officials.” Dr. Jara argued that while the agency execs enjoy benefits that came from hard-earned member-premiums, the agency covers a mere 30% of a Philhealth member’s hospital expenses. Moreover, Philhealth was said to owe some P2 billion in overdue payments to 900 private hospitals in 2012.

Obviously, Philhealth’s Board of Directors approved self-serving policies that allowed the release of such stupendous amounts without considering its members’ welfare,” Dr. Jara commented.

According to Philhealth’s official website, its Board of Directors consist of DOH Secretary Enrique T. Ona as the chairperson with members Francisco T. Duque III (CSC Chair), Corazon J. Soliman (DSWD Secretary), Alexander A. Padilla (Employer Sector), Alexander A. Ayco (Labor Sector), Jane M.N. Sta. Ana (Filipino Oversseas Workers), Robert G. Vergara (GSIS President and General Manager), Genesis M. Adario (Corporate Secretary), Manuel A. Roxas II (DILG Secretary), Rosalinda D. Baldoz (DOLE Secretary), Juan M. Flavier (Health Care Providers Sector), Francisco Vicente F. Lopez (Self Employed Sector), Emilio S. De Quiros Jr. (SSS President and CEO), and Marlon J. Manuel (NAPC-BS Vice Chairperson).

Each board member was reported to have received P1.2 million each in bonuses alone.

Council for Health and Development calls on every Filipino to demand for the return of such bonus and allowances received by Philhealth officials as stated in the CoA report and use it to finance free health services and medicines in public hospitals.

Council for Health and Development is the national organization of more than 60 community based health programs (CBHP) is celebrating 40 years of CBHPs in the Philippines.##

Eleanor A. Jara, M.D.

Executive Director, Council for Health and Development
0927-9259413 | Telefax: (+632)929-8109