Duterte’s appointment of unqualified Philhealth CEO is a turn for the worse

President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of an unqualified person to head the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reveals his lack of understanding of the workings of the state health insurance firm and the chronic problems plaguing it.

This was the reaction of the Citizens Urgent Response to End Covid-19 (CURE Covid) to Duterte’s appointment of former NBI Director Dante Gierran to lead the beleaguered agency.

“The law says the PhilHealth CEO should have seven years experience in public health, management, finance and health economics. Guierran might be an accountant, but his experience is in criminal investigation and law enforcement. He simply is not qualified to lead PhilHealth,” said CURE Covid Spokesperson Dr. Julie Caguiat.

Gierran admitted as much in an interview over the ANC News Channel, where he is quoted as having said: “I’m very scared. I’m scared because I don’t know the operations of PhilHealth. Unlike NBI, I knew the operations of NBI. But PhilHealth, wala. I do not know about public health.”

“Just like in the IATF, we need competent public health professionals and experts to head the PhilHealth. Putting ex generals, ex cops and ex NBI agents with little or no experience in positions where crucial decisions on medical matters and public health are made puts our people’s lives in peril,” stressed Caguiat.

“Just as retired general Ricardo Morales was clueless about the shenanigans in PhilHealth and was eventually engulfed by corruption, so most likely will Atty. Gierran,” Caguiat warned.

“I’m sure there are many more persons more qualified than Gierran out there. It’s just that Pres. Duterte is still treating Covid-19 and other health issues as a peace and order problem, appointing law enforcers in positions that are better suited for health professionals and experts,” she said.#