Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray T. Reyes wants to investigate the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) for prioritizing the increase of its executives’ pay during the pandemic.
Reyes filed House Resolution 1261 urging the House Committee on Health to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation on the tripling of Philhealth executives’ pay in 2022. Reyes filed the resolution immediately after Philhealth officials confirmed the findings were true during budget deliberations this week.
Reyes questioned the propriety of Philhealth executives’ pay increase given its timing and Philhealth’s failure to adequately fulfill its mandate.
“It is ridiculous and reeks with callous lack of empathy that Philhealth thought it necessary to apply for a certification to increase their salaries and allowances threefold in the middle of a pandemic,” Reyes said.
“They cannot even provide a zero balance billing for its members despite millions collected in additional increases in premium contributions, billions of proceeds from their investments, and the multiple sources of funding provided for by several statutes enacted for the purpose,” he added.
According to the lawmaker, the Commission on Audit’s (COA) report released last month showed PhilHealth’s key management personnel receiving P71.45 million in 2022, which is almost triple compared to just P26.2 million in 2021.
He questioned the propriety of Philhealth executives’ pay increase given its timing and Philhealth’s failure to adequately fulfill its mandate.
“While Philhealth struggles to satisfactorily complete its mandate of being the nation’s health insurance provider, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported a 175 percent increase in the pay of Philhealth officials from 2021-2022 with some officials earning up to over half a million in a month in the middle of a raging pandemic,” he said.
“The State of Public Health Emergency was lifted only in July of 2023, putting the propriety of Philhealth’s request for a certification for an increase in their pay right in the middle of a pandemic in question” he added.
The solon also bemoaned that Philhealth was involved in yet another controversy.
“Heto na naman tayo, parang hindi natatapos ang gulo sa Philhealth. Galit ang mga kababayan natin dahil tila ba sa halip na premium para sa bayan, nagiging premyo para sa mga opisyal ang nangyayari sa kanilang mga kontribusyon. Sa harap ng pagtaas ng singil sa premium, may takot na sa bulsa lang na naman ng iba mapupunta ang dagdag na pondong ito,” Reyes said.