Duterte names NBI's Gierran as new PhilHealth chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday appointed former National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran as the new chief of embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. 

Gierran takes over the post of resigned PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales, who was advised by Duterte to step down due to his medical condition.

Gierran, a certified public accountant-lawyer, was the first NBI Director appointed by Duterte after he won the 2016 presidential elections. The 65-year-old official stepped down in February for his mandatory retirement. Prior to his four year-stint as director, he was the NBI regional director for the Davao Region.

Under the Section 14 of Republic Act 11223 or Universal Health Care, upon the recommendation of the Board, the President must appoint a Filipino citizen who has at least seven years of experience in the field of public health, management, finance, and health economics or a combination of any of these expertise.

He will take on the gargantuan task of cleaning up the state health insurance firm, which has been hounded by corruption and fraud allegations, including overpayments to hospitals and procurement of overpriced new equipment.

During the late night address of Duterte, Gierran said that he did not apply for the job but he is willing to take the challenge.

“I did not apply for the position because I know it's a very tough job,” said Gierran. “I'm one who will not back out from a mission. I know it's a huge mission.”

In an interview with CNN Philippines, the new PhilHealth chief assured that he will not repeat the past mistakes done by the previous administration of the agency.

“One thing is sure, I will not commit the wrong that was made by the previous management of PhilHealth. We have to do the right. We have to do what is appropriate,” said Gierran. “In that way, we will be restoring the confidence of the Filipinos to PhilHealth.”

Moreover, Gierran said that he believes at the innocence of his predecessor at the moment while the probe is ongoing.

“At the moment, we have to trust him. We have to believe him. That is his statement, we have to believe him,” he said.

The multi-agency task force investigating PhilHealth disclosed it secured testimonies from whistleblowers who said officers from the central office and regional offices of the agency have been conniving for years with health service providers and partner banks in their fraudulent schemes.