DOH urged: Stop using COA as excuse, clarify 'liquidation' demands amid delayed benefits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) — A private hospital group is appealing to the Department of Health (DOH) to clarify its demand on health facilities to submit liquidation reports as a pre-condition for the release of health workers' benefits, which has been delayed for months.

Dr. Rene Jose de Grano, president of the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI), told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday that the DOH must stop using the Commission on Audit (COA) as an excuse for its late distribution of the One COVID-19 Allowance of personnel and health workers in public and private hospitals.

READ: Hospitals urged: Submit liquidation reports to receive COVID allowance 

"Parang ginagawa na nilang excuse ngayon ang COA because of the discrepancies samantalang sabi nila (It looks like they have been using COA as an excuse for the discrepancies, when they said) they have already downloaded the amount to different CHDs (DOH Centers for Health Development) in different regions," De Grano said.

"We’re wondering, nasaan na ang pera? Kasi from the different regions, nawala na sa different provinces, sa mga hospitals. Walang dumarating (Where is the money now? From the different regions, it did not reach the different provinces, different hospitals. It did not reach us)," he added.

De Grano noted that it seemed strange for the government to ask for a liquidation report from hospitals for allowances that it provided, unless the DOH meant to ask for a different requirement.

"They have to define ano ba ang ibig sabihin nila ng 'liquidation'? If I received the total amount and I signed for it, yun ba ang tinatawag nilang liquidation? Or do they need the payroll list?" he said.

[Translation: They have to define what they meant by 'liquidation. If I received the total amount and I signed for it, is that what they would call a liquidatiom? Or do they need the payroll list?]

De Grano added that the last time they talked, Health Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega did not ask for any liquidation report apart from a list of hospitals. He said he will seek clarification with Vega about the matter.

Outgoing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told The Source on Thursday that funds for the One COVID-19 Allowance (OCA) are readily available, but they simply cannot disburse funds without proper accountabilities, because the agency may be subject to observation by state auditors and even face possible sanctions.

READ: Hospitals urged: Submit liquidation reports to receive COVID allowance

Earlier this year, the Department of Budget and Management released ₱7.92 billion to cover the payment of healthcare workers’ OCA.

Vega said around 400,000 out of 526,727 healthcare workers had already received their allowance from the national government.