The social action arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines joined calls for an investigation into alleged anomalies in the country’s public health insurance system.
Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of Kidapawan, national director of Caritas Philippines, also called for the suspension of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth officials.
“We are in solidarity with all the sectors calling for the suspension of these officials to give way to an independent investigation of the graft allegations,” said the prelate.
He urged authorities “to uncover the truth, serve justice and let everyone involved be accountable.”
He made the statement on Thursday, August 13, as the President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a review of alleged anomalous transactions in the agency.
Bishop Bagaforo asked the government to implement stringent measures to detect corruption “before events like this escalate and pose bigger threats to public health delivery.”
“The public cannot always be at the receiving end of corruption in the government,” he said.
“It is utterly devastating that cases of this scale and magnitude can prevail in public offices where accountability should have been the primary measure of moral aptitude,” he added.
The bishop also expressed disappointment over the seeming inaction of the Health department in the midst of the pandemic.
He noted that the health crisis escalated in ways that could have been mitigated “had we acted with enough foresight and unbiased judgements.”
“Now we are not only cramming to prevent a virus from spreading full blown. We also needed to triple our efforts to address social injustice,” he added.
The Church’s social action arm has helped more than five million poor Filipinos during the pandemic through various forms of assistance such as food and hospital equipment.
Most dioceses, religious congregations and seminaries have also transformed their facilities to house medical frontliners, homeless families, and to serve as quarantine facilities.
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