MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Corporation Chief Atty. Dante Gierran to postpone the scheduled increase in members contribution this year while the public is facing a pandemic.
“Huwag muna ngayon (Not at this time). No increase in contributions. I will look for the money to fill it up. Maghahanap tayo ng pera (I will look for money)” the President said in a late night meeting on Monday (January 4).
Prior to this, Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go mentioned that the President is willing to sign any proposed measure that seeking the deferment of PhilHealth premium increase such as an amendment in the Universal Health Care law which mandates the annual increase in members contribution up to 2025.
“Alam rin ng Pangulo na kailangan ng batas para maisakatuparan ang deferment, at kailangan ring masigurong hindi maaapektuhan ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth sa taumbayan,” Senator Go said in a statement.
(The president also knows that a law is required to push through with the deferment while making sure that it does not affect the services of PhilHealth.)
“Sinabi niya na kung may maipapasang batas ang Lehislatibo na naglalayong ipatupad ang deferment, o kung may kailangang aprubahan na dagdag na pondo mula gobyerno para hindi maantala ang serbisyo ng PhilHealth, pipirmahan niya ito pagkatapos mapag-aralan ng mabuti,” he added.
(He said that if the Legislative is able to pass a measure on deferment, or if the government is needed to release additional funds so as not to affect the services of PhilHealth, he will sign it after careful scrutiny.)
In the Senate, Senator Imee Marcos filed a bill on the matter to stop the premium increase this year.
Go said based on his talk with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, the Budget Department is now studying possible ways that the government may augment PhilHealth’s needed funds this year so the deferment of premium rate hike would push through.
He added that the government is currently studying possible legislative interventions for that matter including an amendatory bill that will address the specific provision in the UHC law mandating the increase and a possible inclusion of a provision in the proposed Bayanihan 3 bill that would allow moving statutory deadlines and timelines for payments required by law.