8 August 2020
PHILHEALTH MESS CAN BE TRACED TO PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION
MANILA The alleged anomaly in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
(PhilHealth) could be traced to policies of the state-run health insurer
during the previous administration, a ranking lawmaker has said.
House public accounts committee chairman Mike Defensor said one of the
biggest sources of corruption in PhilHealth is the all case rates system
that was established in 2011 during the administration of former president
Benigno Aquino III.
During inquiry of the panel on the controversy last Wednesday, he recalled
that the system accumulated almost P154 billion since 2013 due to the system
that led to overpayment to private hospitals.
The issue persisted and eventually we are all surprised. This is where
PhilHealths problems started, where funds started to go missing, the
Anakalusugan party-list representative stressed.
Defensor bared that another circular was issued in 2013 for implementation
of the system, prompting PhilHealth to do away with its fee-for-service
system where it only pays for the exact amount of the bill that a patient
incurs from a hospital.
Quoting a 2017 Commission on Audit report, Defensor explained that a
pneumonia case is charged P15,000, with over 700,000 claims every year;
while acute gastroenteritis case is charged P6,600 and urinary tract
What is fee for service? If you get sick and spend P5,000, for example,
pneumonia, you only spend P5,000 but because of the case rate or case-based
payment, the hospital will be paid P15,000 (by PhilHealth), the lawmaker
Defensor urged the Duterte administration to end this system now.
Let us abolish all case rates policy under the Duterte administration as
this is the root of corruption in PhilHealth, he said in Filipino.
DOH BARES RECALIBRATED COVID-19 RESPONSE AFTER HEALTH GROUP'S TIMEOUT PLEA
MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday revealed what it described
as an improved response to the global pandemic following the medical
community's appeal for a timeout to arrest the swell of COVID-19 cases.
In a virtual forum, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the agency
would conduct a joint medical strategy in fighting the virus, which has so
far infected nearly 123,000 in the country.
"Kami po dapat ang magpasalamat sa inyo dahil inyo pong tinawag ang aming
pansin para tumugon doon sa mahalagang abiso for a timeout," he told the
Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC).
Duque, who is facing mounting calls for resignation while being investigated
by the Ombudsman in handling the crisis, said the medical community's plea
gave DOH a window of opportunity to reassess, review and recalibrate their
Health Undersecretary Lilibeth David said the agency had proposed a working
group that would address 7 key critical areas of improvement.
hospital workforce deficiency
case finding and over reliance on rapid test kits
deficiency in contact tracing
public compliance in self-protection
reopening of industries
The DOH also recently launched the One Hospital Command Center, which will
ensure effective and efficient health facility referral in the Philippine
capital region, David said.
It has also implemented Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE), a
patient- and community-focused response strategy with key elements
incorporated from the prevent-detect-isolate-test-treat strategy.
Key components of CODE include community engagement activities to promote
preventive behaviors; active case finding via house-to-house symptom checks;
RT-PCR testing for symptomatic patients; and Oplan Kalinga application for
those needing quarantine and isolation.
AVIGAN TABLETS FOR COVID-19 CLINICAL TRIALS ARRIVE
MANILA The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed yesterday the arrival of
Avigan tablets for COVID-19 patients in the Philippines.
At a press briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the
Avigan tablets donated by Japan were received by the national
They have provided for 100 patients. This has already been approved by the
Food and Drug Administration for its clinical trial and by the Ethics Review
Board and we are just making final arrangement, she noted.
But she said clinical trials cannot start on Aug. 10 as originally planned
because there are still legal documents that need to be finalized.
In a statement, the embassy of Japan said the delivery of the tablets was
part of its emergency grant aid to countries severely affected by
Japan-made anti-flu drug Avigan has drawn interest from many countries for
its potential to prevent viral replication, even as its effectiveness
against the novel coronavirus is yet to be established, the statement read.
The embassy said that in response to the requests received from the
international community, Japan has formed close cooperation with several
countries, including the Philippines, to expand clinical research on Avigan
as treatment for COVID-19.
Each recipient government has acknowledged Avigans proper usage and
prescription in view of its known adverse side effects, the embassy added.
MEANWHILE, RUSSIA READY TO SUPPLY PHILIPPINES WITH EFFECTIVE, SAFE
Russia, meanwhile, said it is ready to supply vaccine for COVID-19 once it
becomes available, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev said yesterday.
In a Zoom interview with reporters, Khovaev said Russia has submitted its
proposals to the Philippine government regarding the vaccine, through the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and is waiting for response.
He said they provided the Philippine government with three options: join its
clinical trials, supply vaccines to the country or allow local production.
Our proposals are under consideration of our Philippine partners, he said.
We are ready to share our technologies, the envoy said, adding they will
comply with all domestic procedures.
We already have the vaccine. All necessary bureaucratic procedures in order
to get an official administrative approval might be completed until
mid-August, after that Russian facilities will be ready to launch production
for this vaccine, Khovaev said.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he has received Russias
proposals and has already sent a note verbal to the ambassador.
Hi Igor. I sent you the note verbale on the proposals with profound
gratitude for Russias offer and your warm friendship. If youve not gotten
it then may I say there will be hell to pay in DFA, Locsin said on Twitter
PHILIPPINES WORSE THAN INDONESIA? NO WORRIES, SAYS PALACE
MANILA Theres no cause for concern regarding reports that the Philippines
has overtaken Indonesia as the Southeast Asian nation with the highest
number of coronavirus infections, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr.
At a briefing, Roque expressed belief that the Philippines increased
testing capacity has allowed it to identify and record more cases compared
Whats clear to me is Indonesia, with almost more or less the same cases as
us, has one-third of the actual testing that we have conducted on our
people, he said.
Roque said the comparison has no basis and is not conclusive since the
Philippines has tested three times more than Indonesia.
Confirmed cases in the Philippines reached 119,460, with 3,561 new recorded
cases as of Aug. 6.
Based on the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)s
COVID-19 tracker, Indonesia has recorded a total of 118,753 cases. It also
posted the highest number of COVID-19 deaths among Southeast Asian countries
For Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, there is a need to put
into context the number of cases reported by the two countries, like their
references to population and health systems.
The number of our population, settings, health systems are different. When
we try to benchmark with other countries, thats OK We have to interpret
with caution, she said.
TWITTER NOW LABELS GOVERNMENT , STATE MEDIA ACCOUNTS
MANILA Social media company Twitter will now label government and
state-affiliated media accounts in a bid to make conversations more
transparent on the online platform.
Twitter on Thursday said it would use two distinct profile labels
government account and state-affiliated media to enable users to
easily identify them and their tweets.
The policy had been rolled out to accounts linked with the five permanent
members of the United Nations Security Council China, France, Russia
United Kingdom and the United States with a future plan to expand to other
Covered by the new policy are the accounts of key government officials,
including foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official
spokespeople and key diplomatic leaders.
However, personal accounts of heads of state such as that of US President
Donald Trump have not been labeled as these accounts enjoy widespread name
recognition, media attention and public awareness.
PHILIPPINES' CORONAVIRUS CASES SOAR TO 122,754 WITH 3,379 NEW INFECTIONS
MANILA - The Philippines on Friday reported 3,379 new confirmed COVID-19
cases, raising the nationwide caseload to 122,754, as the capital region
remained under a stricter quarantine status.
In its latest bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) said the number of
people who recovered from the contagious disease climbed by 96 to 66,852.
The country's COVID-19 death toll rose to 2,168, with 24 new fatalities
HOUSE-TO-HOUSE SEARCH SET IN 10 METRO MANILA BARANGAYS
MANILA The government is set to conduct a house-to-house check in 10
barangays in Metro Manila to find possible coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19) cases, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.
The Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) initiative will be
implemented for the next two weeks in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig; Addition Hills,
Mandaluyong; Sucat, Muntinlupa; Potrero, Malabon; Pembo, Makati; San
Antonio, Parañaque; Barangay 12, Caloocan; Batasan Hills, Quezon City;
CAA-BF International, Las Piñas; and Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Undersecretary
Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
We are not targeting because we do not even know who among them have
symptoms or exposure. What we are targeting are areas with clustering of
infection. In the next two weeks, there are 10 barangays that will be
visited by the CODE teams, she said.
Those with symptoms and exposure to confirmed cases will be isolated and
We will also check the status of compliance of those undergoing home
quarantine. We have observed that a lot of our positive individuals who are
staying at home are not really compliant with the single bedroom, single
comfort room and no vulnerable population at home (policies), Vergeire
She assured the public that there will be extensive contact tracing and
swabbing of those who are eligible to be swabbed.
HALF OF PINOYS THINK IT'S DANGEROUS TO BE CRITICAL OF DUTERTE ADMIN: SWS
Some 51 percent of those surveyed said that it is dangerous to broadcast or
print anything critical to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,
a Social Weather Stations (SWS) poll showed.
According to the SWS poll, taken last July 3 to 6, of the 51 percent who
agree with the said statement, 23 percent strongly agree with the other 27
percent somewhat agreeing.
On the other hand, 30 percent of those surveyed disagreed that it is
dangerous to publish or print reports critical of the Duterte
Administration, the SWS said.
Of the 30 percent who disagreed, 14 percent somewhat disagreed while 17
percent strongly disagreed.
Meanwhile, 18 percent were undecided on the issue.
The SWS poll was conducted on 1,555 adult Filipinos aged 18 and above
nationwide using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing.
Of the over 1,500 respondents, 306 were from the National Capital Region,
451 in Balance Luzon, 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao.
The survey had a sampling error margin of ±2 percent for national
percentages; ±6 percent for Metro Manila; and ±5 percent for Balance Luzon,
Visayas, and Mindanao.
THOUGH SWAMPED, HOSPITALS WON'T FACE 'LIVE-OR-DIE' OPTION FOR COVID
PATIENTS: DOH EXEC
MANILA--The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday sought to dispel concerns
that hospitals might soon be swamped with COVID-19 patients to the point
that they would need to decide who would live or die, as the number of
infections continued to rise.
The government has begun "priming" its pandemic strategy with aggressive
swabbing and contact tracing, while beefing up hospital referrals and bed
capacity, with infections nearing 120,000--the most in Southeast Asia--as of
"We are doing everything possible (so) that we will not reach that point
where we are going to decide who lives and who will not live," Health
Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in response to a question in an
Fears of COVID-19 cases overwhelming the health care system pushed the
government to recalibrate its pandemic strategy, a move driven also in large
part by complaints made public by overworked medical front liners.
A new referral system is now in place to help ensure that severe and
critical cases, in particular, will be accommodated, while decongesting
hospitals by transferring mild patients to other facilities.
The DOH also plans to hire close to 10,000 health care workers, who will be
needed with hospitals allotting more beds for COVID-19, while also bringing
community-based doctors to Metro Manila as reinforcement.
PAGASA: BRACE FOR MORE RAINS IN COMING DAYS
MANILA Filipinos should brace for more rains in the coming days as the
low-pressure area east of Luzon was forecast to intensify into a tropical
depression within the next 36 hours, the state weather bureau said
As of 3 p.m. yesterday, the low-pressure area was spotted at 455 kilometers
east of Baler, Aurora, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and
Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
It will be locally named Enteng once it develops into a tropical depression.
PAGASA weather specialist Ariel Rojas said the brewing cyclone is likely to
enhance the southwest monsoon, which will bring rains to many parts of Luzon
The weather disturbance was forecast to move north. It was not expected to
hit Philippine landmass, Rojas said.
Monsoon rains will persist over Metro Manila, Bataan, Zambales, Calabarzon
(Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) today.
The trough or extension of the low-pressure area will bring rains over
Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, the rest of Central Luzon, the Bicol
region, the rest of Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, BARMM and Northern
The rest of Luzon and Mindanao will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies
with isolated rains due to the southwest monsoon and localized
PAGASA warned residents of Luzon of possible flooding and landslides during
heavy and prolonged rainfall.
ENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE
WATCH: SAM MILBY SAYS CATRIONA GRAY IS THE ONE
MANILA In a rare statement addressing his relationship with Miss Universe
2018 Catriona Gray, actor Sam Milby said Friday he sees the beauty queen as
Milby was asked about his romance with Gray during a virtual media
conference for the upcoming ABS-CBN drama Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin, where he is
a cast member.
I do believe she is the one, Milby answered, when asked on the possibility
of marriage. (See the 1:14:45 mark of the video below.)
Siyempre, may difference sa edad namin. Ako, Im 36. She's 26, and
kaka-start pa lang ng career niya. Its early, but I do believe she is the
Milby and Gray went public with their relationship in May, more than a year
after they were first linked romantically in December 2018.
After her Miss Universe reign, Gray has so far juggled being a first-time
book author, a singer, and an entrepreneur with a planned jewelry line, on
top of continuing her advocacies.
Milby, whose acting career spans 15 years, meanwhile remains active on
camera, with Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin marking his latest starring role in a
Drawing from the series title, a reporter then asked Milby how he would
respond if another man told him the same phrase, regarding his relationship
The question was an apparent reference to Grays former boyfriend, model
Clint Bondad, whose controversial Instagram updates pertaining to Sam and
Cat stirred intrigue surrounding the new relationship.
If someone says that to me ang sa iyo ay akin? Milby answered. Kung
akin talaga, ipaglalaban ko. If its really mine, I will fight for it. I
will fight for her.
NBA: GRIZZLIES RALLY TO ROUT THUNDER FOR 1ST BUBBLE WIN
Dillion Brooks scored 22 points, and Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas added
19 apiece, and the Memphis Grizzlies recovered from a big, early deficit to
down the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-92 on Friday (US time).
Memphis was behind by 17 points in the first quarter, but outscored Oklahoma
City 38-23 in the second to take the halftime lead 63-60.
The Grizzlies pulled away in the third quarter, where they outscored the
The win, Memphis' first in 5 games in the seedings stage, enabled the
Grizzlies (33-37) to hold on to the No. 8 spot in the West playoff race.
The Portland Trailblazers (32-38) are a game behind, while the San Antonio
Spurs (30-38) -- winners over the Utah Jazz on the day's first game -- the
streaking Phoenix Suns (30-39), the New Orleans Pelicans (29-39), and the
Sacramento Kings (29-40) are just on the fringes.
Chris Paul led the Thunder with 17 points.
NBA: SPURS CRUISE TO VICTORY OVER HOBBLED JAZZ
Derrick White scored 24 points, and the San Antonio Spurs had little trouble
beating the Utah Jazz missing key players 119-111 on Friday (US time).
All Spurs starters scored in double digits against Utah, which were without
Donovan Mitchell (leg), Rudy Gobert (rest) and Mike Conley (knee).
San Antonio used a strong start to go up 19-6 and never looked back.
Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 24 points and 4 3-pointers.
Jakob Poetl added 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Rudy Gay came
off the bench to tally 14 points and 3 steals for the Spurs, whose victory
kept the race for the 8th and final seat in the West close.
San Antonio is now 2 games adrift of No. 8 the Memphis Grizzlies, who beat
the Oklahoma City Thunder later in the day.
NBA: EMBIID, PHILADELPHIA BIGS POWER SIXERS PAST MAGIC
Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris each tallied a double-double, and the
Philadelphia 76ers broke loose from the Orlando Magic in the fourth quarter
to win 108-101 on Friday (US time).
Back-to-back baskets by Al Horford ignited a 9-1 run to give the 76ers a
97-87 lead, en route to victory despite the absence of Ben Simmons (knee).
Embiid finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, Harris added 23 and 15,
while Horford had 21 and 9.
Evan Fournier scored 22 points to lead the Magic.
FOREX $1 = P 49.04
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application
of a rough truth. - Edward Bulwer-Lytton