Philippines

PhilHealth chief fired

By ARGYLL GEDUCOS

President Duterte has sacked Philippine Health Insurance Corp. interim chief Celestina Maria Jude de la Serna for alleged excessive trips.

De la Serna was sacked almost a month after Duterte ordered the investigation of her travels amounting to P627,293.04 in just one year amid the agency’s massive net income loss totaling R8.92 billion based on its 2017 unaudited financial statement posted online.

Duterte has appointed PhilHealth board member Dr. Roy Ferrer to replace De la Serna.

Ferrer has confirmed his appointment and said that he will do his best to effectively carry out the mandate of PhilHealth. “I will do my best to be an effective public servant and to carry out the mandate of PHIC and PRRD has given me,” he said.

Duterte signed the appointment paper of Ferrer last June 1.

Last month, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte has ordered a probe on PhilHealth to enable it to fully implement universal healthcare in the country.

“Alam ko po iimbestigahan din ‘yan ng Presidente dahil prayoridad po talaga ng Presidente na magbigay ng universal healthcare,” Roque said. “At talagang kung hindi po malilinis ang hanay ng PhilHealth, hindi po magkakaroon ng katuparan ang universal healthcare,” he added.

De la Serna was the second government official fired by Duterte in less than a week after Bureau of Customs Deputy Commissioner Noel Prudente also for supposed excessive travels to Singapore and Europe.

Duterte has been in a firing spree of government officials for alleged corruption and other abuses in office. They include those who have excessive travels.

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