Sotto: "PhilHealth is an insurance company", it needs a Chairman from DOF

September 22, 2020 06:20 PM

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto proposed to President Duterte to move PhilHealth's Chairmanship to the Department of Finance, saying that since PhilHealth is a financial institution, it must be managed by the Secretary of Finance.

“PhilHealth is not a health entity, it’s an insurance company. We need somebody who understands the numbers, so sabi ko Secretary of Finance ang proposal ko." 

Senate President Tito Sotto recognized the need to make adjustments in the PhilHealth Board of Directors in order to restore public trust. After the recent news regarding the anomalies and pervasive corruption in PhilHealth, Sotto proposed to replace the Chairman of the Board with the Secretary of Finance since PhilHealth, at its core, is a financial institution.     

During an interview with CNN, Senator Sotto explained to President Duterte, “[PhilHealth] is not a health entity, it’s an insurance company. We need somebody who understands the numbers, so sabi ko Secretary of Finance ang proposal ko. (…so I said my proposal would be to appoint a Secretary of Finance)” 

The President responded well to the idea, Sotto said, agreeing that it would be the right move. After all, the National Health Insurance Program was established to ensure affordable, available, and accessible health insurance for all Filipinos.

Previously, the Secretary of Health had assigned a representative in his place to be Chairman of PhilHealth, which defeats the intent of the law that appoints the current Secretary of Health to be the Chairman of PhilHealth. 

This amendment, however, does not remove the Secretary of Health as a member of the Board, since they will act as a link to align the Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth.

The PhilHealth Board of Directors will be reconstituted to have a maximum of 13 members, consisting of five ex-officio members, namely the Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Social Welfare and Development, Secretary of Budget and Management, Secretary of Health, Secretary of Labor and Employment; three panel members with expertise in public health, management, finance, and health economics; and five sectoral panel members who will represent the direct contributors, indirect contributors, employers group, and health care providers. Furthermore, it should be noted that at least one of the expert panel members and at least two of the sectoral panel members are women.

All of the Board members must be Filipino citizens and of good moral character. 

The Secretary of Finance, once appointed as Chairperson of the Board, must always be present and act as the chairman in all board actions, which prohibits them from being represented by an alternative or representative.     

Photo source: SENATE PRIB




Tito Sotto PhilHealth Department of Health Department of Finance