Private hospitals’ group asks Duterte to replace Duque as health chief

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) on Monday, May 25, asked President Rodrigo Duterte to replace Secretary Francisco Duque III as health chief and chairman of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). 

In its letter to the President, the group said they "have enough of the promises of PhilHealth and the Department of Health (DOH)" regarding reimbursements to hospitals. 

"Just to cite among the most important one, our members are given the run around by PhilHealth when asked about the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM). Although some have already received their share, most however are now so financially drained as they are still waiting for the promised IRM," PHAP said. 

The group said Duque should be replaced with someone “who can deliver the goods better in addressing the health concerns of the country.”

Rappler reached out to Duque for comment, but he has yet to reply as of this posting.

This recent development also came after Duque’s false claims on the COVID-19 contagion.

Last week, Duque said the Philippines was already in the second wave of COVID-19 infections, going into the 3rd.

Several government officials contradicted Duque's statement. (READ: First wave, second wave? Duterte officials clash on where PH is in pandemic)

Duque also claimed that there was no evidence that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 are contagious. But a report from the World Health Organization said otherwise. 

Citing a situation report from the WHO, Senator Nancy Binay said the WHO didn't say that asymptomatic cases are not contagious. (READ: ‘Nakakabahala’: Senators hit Duque over false claims on COVID-19 contagion)

"There are few reports of laboratory-confirmed cases who are truly asymptomatic, and, to date, there has been no documented asymptomatic transmission. This does not exclude the possibility that it may occur," Binay said.

PhilHealth issue

PhilHealth had been criticized for its supposed "overpriced" COVID-19 testing package.  

After receiving criticism for its pricey COVID-19 testing package, PhilHealth on May 22 had scaled down its rate to P4,210 from P8,150. (READ: Drilon asks PhilHealth to review P8,150 coronavirus testing package)

PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales told Rappler that the P4,210 rate was part of the new package that would be announced this week.

He, however, maintained that "previous P8,150 is not overpriced but reflected testing capacity in March."

As of Monday, the Philippines recorded 14,319 cases of coronavirus infections, with 873 deaths and 3,323 recoveries. –




Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.