Secretary Francisco T. Duque III issued a statement in response to the issue of fraud surrounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth):
“I am deeply disappointed about the recent events surrounding PhilHealth and WellMed. PhilHealth was founded with the vision of providing Filipinos with universal health coverage because it is our belief, as public health practitioners, that financial status should never hinder any Filipino from receiving quality health service. For the system to be taken advantage of and used in corruption is utterly unacceptable. These nefarious activities must end and PhilHealth should further strengthen its zero tolerance policy on overpayments.
As the Health Secretary and ex-officio Chairman of PhilHealth, I am warning all health providers and PhilHealth officials in the strongest possible terms: do not cheat the system nor even attempt to do it. Tama na ang hocus pocus. Maraming Pilipinong may sakit ang umaasa sa tulong na ibinibigay ng PhilHealth. I will ensure that justice will be served to those who defraud the system.
President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed for a clean slate in PhilHealth, hence I have ordered a revamp of PhilHealth’s accreditation committee. All false claims are to be investigated and when warranted, charges will be filed. Board members have also been asked to submit their courtesy resignation upon the order of the President.
Moving forward, I have instructed my colleagues at the Department of Health to ensure anti-corruption measures are in place for the implementation of the Universal Health Care as we write the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). This is to highlight the provisions in the UHC Act that were intended to improve the health financing system.
I am grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for his robust leadership and swift action in this matter. I call for all of us to work together — the medical community, health providers, government units in the national and local levels, and the Filipino people — to fix the system and put an end to corruption and fraud.”