The Metro Manila “lockdown,” “community quarantine,” or whatever the authorities may call it, is one decisive action taken by the government that needs the support of our people, no matter the sacrifices or inconvenience it brings.
But then again, government must lose no time in coming up with practical but effective ways of implementing it to serve its real purpose for our country to survive this unprecedented crisis that we are facing.
For its part, the Department of Health’s Inter-Agency Task Force (DOH-IATF) should issue clear, simple and concise guidelines on dealing with COVID-19 to prevent confusion among the public, as so many doctors and medical experts have been expressing different opinions on it, particularly on its transmission.
Go asks COA to conduct Special Audit, challenges Morales to institute immediate reforms
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he will make sure that those involved in the fraudulent and corrupt activities in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will be brought to justice.
Go dished out the warning during the second Joint Public Hearing on the Philhealth controversy conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health and Demography committees.
Several key government agencies attended the hearing called by the Senator to help investigate and give light on various alleged anomalies involving PhilHealth.
At the hearing, Go asked Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Michael Aguinaldo to conduct a special audit on PhilHealth fund utilization and submit their findings to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Humihingi ako ng tulong sa mismong Chairman ng Commission on Audit,” Go shared. Addressing Aguinaldo, the Senator said, “Please, Chairman Aguinaldo, I urge you to conduct a special audit and submit your findings to the Ombudsman. Gumawa kayo ng audit para malaman natin kung sino ang mga salarin.”
The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation, also present during the hearing, were asked by Go to conduct their own investigations too.
“Please get to the bottom of this mess. ‘Wag kayong mahihiyang sabihin kung sino ang mga nasa likod ng kalokohan na ito, kahit sino pa ang mga taong ito. Karapatan ng taumbayan malaman ang katotohanan,” Go said.
Go also told representatives from Department of Justice present during the hearing to file cases against those who will be found responsible for the anomalies. “Kasuhan ninyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. No one is above the law,” Go said.
The Senator called out current PhilHealth president, retired army general Ricardo Morales, and challenged him to institute immediate reforms in order to put a stop to the anomalies and weed out corruption in the agency.
“Finally, I challenge the leadership of General Morales. I know you are a man of integrity. We trust that you will be able to weed out corruption and the corrupt officials and employees in the agency.” Go added that Morales has a huge responsibility in his hands, especially with the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.
“Kung gusto natin nang maayos na health care, kailangan natin na maayos ang Philhealth,” Go stressed.
Allegations of fraudulent, overpayment and unpaid claims, accreditation suspension, conflict of interest of officials, overstocking of medicines and supplies, and reorganization have been crippling the credibility and accountability of healthcare services in the country over the years. All of these, as cited by Go, resulted in the wastage of public funds intended to help indigent patients.
“Inuulit ko – pera ng taong-bayan ang pondo ng PhilHealth. Galing ‘yan sa mga taong nagpapakahirap sa trabaho at umaasang mabigyan nang maayos na serbisyo kapag sila ay nagkakasakit. Ang pera ng mga PhilHealth members, dapat ibalik sa kanila. Hindi ito dapat ibinubulsa ng iilan lang,” he said.
Go lamented that as public servants are working tirelessly to uplift the lives and improve health services for the people, there are others that continue to destroy the reputation and taint the trust of the people in the government.
“Kung noon ay nakakalusot kayo, ngayon hindi na. Ngayon, sisigiraduhin ko na mananagot ang kailangan managot. Kakasuhan ang dapat kasuhan at makukulong ang dapat na makulong,” Go said.
“Noon, ‘pag may gagawing imbestigasyon, laging walang nangyayari. Walang resulta dahil nagtuturuan lang ang mga sangkot. Napakaraming rason, wala namang solusyon. Sawang-sawa na ang sambayanang Pilipino sa mga problemang tulad nito,” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said the President made the right decision since the ultimatum was made six days after he declared the ceasefire and the NPA rebels even ambushed the government militiamen.
”The President already gave his word to set an ultimatum at 5 p.m. Because of the ambush, he said that if they (rebels) will not reciprocate, he will revoke the ceasefire. Siguro taliwas sa kanyang character na pag nagbitaw ng salita na pag sinabi niya, talagang alam nating gagawin niya,” Lacson said.Lacson criticized the CPP-NPA-NDF for announcing in the media that they are supposed to declare ceasefire only three hours after the 5 p.m. ultimatum expired.
”The President declared the ceasefire 25 (of July) but they did not reciprocate. Now that it was lifted after the ultimatum lapsed, they said they would call a ceasefire at 8 p.m. Stupid is just a common phrase. It’s not literal (that they would declare ceasefire),” Lacson said.
Lacson said the CPP-NPA-NDF should declare its own ceasefire as a show of their goodwill and good faith.
Neophyte Senator Sherwin Gatchalian expressed optimism that the peace agreement between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF will be achieved expeditiously “with President Digong’s showing of goodwill.”
”The NDF should also move expeditiously to achieve peace. President Digong is their only chance to achieve peace. He is the only President that sympathizers with their cause and movement,” Gatchalian said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said President Duterte had little choice when he set the ultimatum after the attack of the government militiamen, “especially as the President has been making a tour of military camps.”
”Hopefully both sides can engage in confidence building measures in the run up to the peace talks,” Angara said.
Dureza has said President Duterte will continue to walk the extra mile to achieve peace with the communist rebels.
He added that he will make his corresponding recommendations to President Duterte during the scheduled Cabinet meeting on Monday. (PNA)
I am the son of an overseas Filipino Worker (OFW). In 1984, the year I was born, my family was whisked away to live in Kuwait where my father worked as an engineer. In the context of growing unrest and the economic downturn of the Marcos Era, it was a decision of desperation and survival.
Eventually, our family had to leave again in the same circumstances, desperation and survival. Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait, and our family’s choice was either biological weapons or the desert. We struck out for the border in the desert, only to be halted by Iraqi troops. My father was separated from us. The rest of the family was turned over to the Red Crescent, and was eventually repatriated back to the Philippines. By her generosity, we settled into our aunt’s home in Pangasinan in 1990.