PhilHealth got biggest share of record GOCC subsidies in 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) cornered the biggest subsidy support from the national government last year despite reports of corruption and mismanaged funds.
In 2020, the national government gave away a record-high P230.4 billion in subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), of which P62.4 billion or 27 percent went to PhilHealth, the latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed.
The subsidies that PhilHealth received last year were lower than the P72.7 billion in 2019, but it remained the recipient of the biggest annual amount among state-run corporations for the seventh straight year or since 2014.
While it should be efficiently implementing the national health insurance program to fight COVID-19, PhilHealth had instead been implicated in a number of corruption allegations, including mismanagement of funds amid the pandemic.
In December 2020 alone, PhilHealth’s subsidies amounting to P23.8 billion accounted for more than half of the P42.6 billion disbursed during the month.
For 2021, the P4.5-trillion national budget has set aside a bigger P71.4 billion for PhilHealth amid the protracted battle against the deadly coronavirus.
Last year, the other top recipients of GOCC subsidies included the Social Security System with P51 billion as it disbursed the small wage business subsidy at the height of the lockdown; the National Irrigation Administration, P33.7 billion; Land Bank of the Philippines, P23.3 billion; the National Housing Authority, P18.1 billion, and the National Food Authority, P10.5 billion. In all, 43 GOCCs got subsidies in 2020.
For 2021, total budgetary support to government corporations—which include equity infusion—has been programmed at P148.2 billion, Department of Budget and Management documents showed.