Duterte ‘agrees’ to replace chief health officer as chairman of the board of PhilHealth – Sotto

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted a proposal that would replace the Secretary of Health as chairman of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

This was according to Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who recently tabled a bill to designate the finance secretary as ex officio chairman of the board of directors of PhilHealth instead of the chief health officer.

“I just spoke to [President Duterte], he agrees! ”Sotto wrote on Twitter Wednesday night.

The president has met with congressional leaders, including Sotto, to discuss bills aimed at eradicating red tape and corruption, his longtime aide and now Senator Bong Go told reporters.

Under Bill 1829 of the Senate of Sotto, the chief financial officer will be appointed to chair the board of directors of the state insurer and must “be present and act as chairman in all actions of the advice and cannot be represented by a replacement or representative ”.

Nonetheless, the Health Secretary will still be part of the PhilHealth Board of Directors “to provide the necessary link to align” the [Department of Health] and the state insurance company, according to the bill.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is currently ex officio Chairman of the Board of Directors of PhilHealth.

The Speaker of the Senate introduced his bill just days after the Senate Committee of the Whole advised the laying of criminal charges against Duque and several others for the allegedly dubious release of billions of funds under PhilHealth’s emergency cash advance measure.

The head of health has already fired the committee’s conclusions as “unfounded” which were made on “mere allegations”.

The Senate panel also called on Duterte to replace Duque and appoint a new health secretary “who has a stronger will to fight corruption.”

But the president expressed his continued trust and trust in Duque despite the allegations made against him.

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