The filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, recently resigned Philhealth Chief Ricardo Morales and other Philhealth executives has long been overdue. Nonetheless, Migrante International fully supports the recommendation by legislators to bring these suspects before the court to clear the way for the public in finding out the extent of their consent or participation over widespread corruption and irregularities in the government firm.
Duque has long been tainted with corruption issues even before he was recycled by President Duterte as his health secretary. Way back during the time of the Arroyo regime, Duque was Philhealth president when Php 500 million was allegedly diverted from OWWA to produce Philhealth cards bearing Arroyo’s image in the months leading to the 2004 presidential campaign period. On the other hand, Duterte’s military crony Ricardo Morales willfully promoted executives linked to ‘ghost’ dialysis and other scams.
The Duterte regime’s effort to deodorize Duque and Morales through his declaration of trust demonstrates the presidential seal of approval. Malacañang has even allowed Morales to gracefully tender his resignation instead of getting sacked from office. Making him fully entitled to back pay benefits. Meanwhile, Duque continues to cling to his position despite public clamour for his resignation.
Aside from Philhealth being invalid overseas healthcare facilities, corruption in the government agency is really one of the reasons why OFWs continue to oppose Duterte’s mandatory Philhealth membership and premium rate hike embedded in his ‘Universal Healthcare Law’. How can we entrust our hard earned money to an agency with 5,000 plus ‘ghost’ members over the age of 130? There is no basis for supporting a government agency that reimburses funds to hospitals based on profitability and not on concrete needs.
In a country where the healthcare system is dominated by private entities, Philhealth is ushering public health to its tragic ruin. The Duterte government is not alarmed by the fact that there are only 13.5 beds for every 10,000 and only one doctor for every 33,000 Filipinos. The Duterte regime’s obsession to neoliberal policies is to blame for the very poor state of healthcare services in the country.
In the recently submitted budget proposal for 2021, the Department of Health will still get a lower share of funds as compared to the Department of National Defense. The Duterte regime’s twisted priorities at the height of a global pandemic proves his apathy towards the public health needs of the Filipino people.
Health is a basic human right and it is outrageous that the Philippine government is making money out of people’s health. Genuine universal healthcare means making quality healthcare and medical services free and readily accessible to all. That means paid healthcare through premium contributions in health insurance will no longer be a necessity. This is what Filipino migrants and their families want to see and experience in their own country.
Korapsyon sa Philhealth, lansagin!
Solusyong medikal, hindi militar!
Military cronies ni Duterte, patalsikin!
Public health, HINDI private wealth!
Proteksyon, hindi koleksyon!