A HOUSE leader on Sunday accused the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) of blackmailing the government after stopping its coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) testing due to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) alleged unpaid obligations amounting to almost a billion pesos.
“I seriously counsel the management of the Philippine National Red Cross to stop blackmailing the government. Please remember that every centavo in the coffers of the government comes from every Filipino taxpayer. It is very lamentable that due to the government’s alleged failure to pay its obligation on time, it has been accused of a lot of things,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, who chairs the House committee on dangerous drugs, said.
“Unlike PRC, the government has to check the veracity of claims made against it by any entity. Also, it has to review the legality of the agreement made by and between PRC and Philhealth. But this should not be taken against the government and blackmail it by stopping a supposedly public and noble duty of the Red Cross, Philippine or International. The people ultimately suffer, not the government. Be true to your purpose and existence. If only for alleged unpaid dues you will resort to blackmailing, I wonder why the University of the Philippines has not evicted you yet from its property over which allegedly you have not paid rent for years”, Barbers alleged.
“PRC has no right to impose on the government and demand payment for the alleged testings done on people. For one, it was learned that the PRC has no valid contract with Philhealth over the alleged mass testing to be charged to Philhealth. It was also learned that the illegal contract that PRC and Philhealth officials represented by Atty. del Rosario executed is for the advance payment to PRC by Philhealth in the amount of P100 million – in alleged compliance with the Bayanihan 1 where Heads of relevant Agencies were authorized to partner with PRC in the distribution of goods and services invidental in the fight against COVID-19. However, in the Memorandum issued by the Executive Secretary, all partnerships entered into with PNRC are subject to reumbursement and not advance payment as done by Philhealth,” Barbers added.
“The MOA therefore between Philhealth and PRC is illegal as Philhealth has no authority to enter into a MOA and grant PRC the advance payments,” Barbers said.
“In the coming days, this will all unfold and the government will be exonerated,” Barbers said.