Dispatch from Crame No. 954: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the lower COVID-19 tests being conducted due to the PhilHealth Mess


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The government’s COVID-19 testing program is now in peril due to the ongoing ruckus between PhilHealth and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC). PhilHealth’s failure, so far, to settle its supposed payables to PRC has considerably reduced the latter’s testing capacity, with a threat to altogether stop its testing operations.

Ang hindi natin maintindihan ay kung bakit umasa ang gobyerno sa PRC sa pagtugon sa malaking bahagi ng testing requirements nito. Lumalabas pa na kuwestyonable yung kasunduan ng PhilHealth at PRC, ayon na mismo sa in-house lawyers ng PhilHealth.

Nauna ko nang pinuna ang MOA na yan, lalo na sa isyu ng advance payment at sa usapin ng conflict of interest sa panig ng pinuno ng PRC na isang Senador na syang nag-iimbestiga mismo sa mga katiwalian sa PhilHealth.Porke sinabi ng DOJ na wala itong nakikitang legal problem, hindi ibig sabihin na wala nang mali o iregularidad ang nasabing kasunduan. Dapat busisiin o imbestigahan nang maayos ang bagay na ito.

We are cognizant of, and grateful for, PRC’s tremendous efforts at helping government respond to this unprecedented health crisis. But are good intentions or good faith an extenuating circumstance to accountability for possible misuse of public funds? Access to government resources by private entities like PRC deserves closer scrutiny.

This whole affair once again underscores the inexcusable ineptitude of this administration, with Duterte’s minions using their power and position to dry up our coffers. Taumbayan na naman ang kawawa sa pagpapabayang ito, Pilipino na naman ang lugi sa panibagong anomalyang ito.

Even worse, the reduction of daily COVID-19 positive cases being reported could mislead the public into thinking that this is due to the reduced transmission of the virus, instead of the decline of COVID-19 tests resulting from the incompetence and corruption of the officials in whose hands Duterte has surrendered our fight against the pandemic, and we’ve yet to get our testing capabilities straightened out—and now it is in shambles because of fraudulent schemes of Duterte’s men.

Add to this the fact that the so-called “testing czar” is himself being hailed to court for graft charges over the ₱11-billion New Clark sports hub built for the SEA Games. Testing czar nga ba? O Kupit King lang pala. You never know under the Duterte Administration.

Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 954, here:https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._954

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