Incoming Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) chief Dante Gierran, who admitted to knowing nothing about public health, vowed to end corruption in the embattled agency in two years.
“Sigurado ‘yan, kakayanin. Kakayanin ko talaga ‘yan, (I’m sure of that. I will try my best),” Gierran said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday, September 3, when asked if he will be able to address the problem before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends in 2022.
“Why? Firstly, I have the full support of the President no less. I have the support of Senator Bong Go,” Gierran added.
He also noted that he has the support of his former colleagues at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which is one of the units in the task force probing the corruption at the state health insurer.
Gierran was former director of the NBI and served the agency for 27 years. (READ: Who is Dante Gierran, Duterte’s choice for PhilHealth chief?)
“And of course, ako mismo (I, myself), I offer myself. I am already a senior citizen, wala na akong ibang gagawin pa (I don’t have anything else to do),” Gierran said.
Duterte has picked Gierran to lead PhilHealth in the wake of the resignation of its chief Ricardo Morales. Duterte earlier relieved Morales from office for health reasons, as he is battling cancer. (READ: CHEAT SHEET: Alleged PhilHealth anomalies uncovered in Congress probes)
A lawyer and an accountant, Gierran has admitted that he’s “scared” to lead PhilHealth because he doesn’t know the operations in the agency. (READ: ‘I don’t know about public health,’ admits incoming PhilHealth chief)
Despite this, Malacañang has defended Gierran from assertions that he is unqualified to lead the state health insurer, saying that a PhilHealth CEO and president does not need to be a health expert. (READ: Malacañang defends Duterte’s choice for PhilHealth chief: Gierran a ‘financial expert’)
Section 14 of the universal health care law states that the PhilHealth board cannot recommend a president and CEO unless he or she has “at least 7 years of experience in the field of public health, management, finance, and health economics, or a combination of any of these expertise.”
Though Gierran already has the President’s blessing, he still needs to be elected by the PhilHealth board before assuming the position of CEO and president.
Lawmakers are investigating PhilHealth for alleged corruption as whistleblowers say some P15 billion ($309.6 million) in funds were pocketed by its executives. The PhilHealth anomalies have fueled anger against the Duterte government at a time when the Philippines has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia. – Rappler.com