Statement of ARTA Secretary Jeremiah Belgica on the release of the monthly pension of PNP-TPPDs, surviving dependents

04 September 2021

We have received reports that retirees of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that are with total permanent physical disability (TPPD) and surviving dependents of our police force have received their monthly pension that was delayed since August 2021.

As such, we would like to commend National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Vitaliano Aguirre II for their timely action on the plight of the beneficiaries.

This is the exact kind of response that we expect from national government agencies, especially since it was President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself who ordered for the speedy and efficient processing of benefit claims of uniformed personnel.

For our part, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) activated an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to streamline the processing of claims uniformed personnel and their legal beneficiaries in May 2021.

Our uniformed personnel represent the best of us. They have done so much to contribute to the betterment of our country and they deserve the best services that the Philippine government has to offer.


ARTA chief Belgica takes oath as member of the anti-corruption council

September 3, 2021 – Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Secretary Jeremiah B. Belgica took oath as a member of the National Anti-Corruption Coordinating Council (NACCC) during the virtual grand launching of ‘Project Kasangga: National Anti-Corruption Coordinating Council’ this Friday morning.

The NACC was established as part of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission’s (PACC) ‘Project Kasangga: Aksyon Laban sa Korapsyon’, which aims to further solidify President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s advocacy for a clean and efficient government for Filipinos.

“We, public servants of the Republic of the Philippines, in full commitment and support of the President’s mandate and directive against graft and corruption, and in dedicated service to the Filipino people, do hereby subject ourselves jointly, voluntarily, and whole-heartedly by entering a Memorandum of Agreement ( MOA) to constitute an Anti-Corruption Coordinating Council,” he said as he was sworn in to be part of NACCC along with the heads of over 40 government agencies.

Under the MOA, the NACCC members vowed to support the programs against corruption of PACC. They are also expected to develop cooperation, strategies; and draft policies that will prevent and end corruption in the government.

“This is a big step forward in developing and strengthening the anti-corruption campaign of the President in achieving the administration’s goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in government,” Secretary Greco Belgica, chairman of PACC, said.

Furthermore, the launch of NACCC will establish Anti-Corruption Committees to collect information, investigate cases, and resolve corruption complaints.

“This seals the President’s firm commitment to end corruption… We have not seen this in any government. Bawat opisina hanggang sa barangay may PACC na lumalaban sa korapsyon. ‘Yan ang seriousness ng gobyernong ito sa pamumuno ng Pangulo,” the Presidential anti-corruption czar added.

ARTA previously entered a pact with the PACC to bolster its campaign against red tape.


ARTA calls for streamlining, establishment of legal cover for PhilHealth MPR

2 September 2021 – Secretary Jeremiah Belgica, Director General of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), reiterated its call for the streamlining and establishment of legal cover for the Medical Prepayment Review of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The statement was made during ARTA’s meeting with the state insurer’s top management officials and regional directors and private stakeholders last 1 September 2021.

Belgica called for the meeting after President Rodrigo Duterte again ordered PhilHealth to pay for the COVID-19 reimbursement claims of hospitals, especially those who admit to struggling amid the pandemic.

“What we want here siguro is more lasting solutions para makita po natin, para mas matulungan ang PhilHealth para mapabilis ang processing,” the Anti-Red Tape Secretary said during the meeting.

PhilHealth has drawn flak for the delays in its payment of COVID-19 reimbursement claims from both public and private hospitals.

In a hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability regarding the status of PhilHealth’s unpaid hospital claims on 27 August 2021, PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran admitted that the agency owes hospitals a total of P21.1 billion worth of unpaid claims.

Belgica reminded those from PhilHealth to strictly observe their 60-day period to liquidate its cash advances to the Commission on Audit (COA) after distribution to regional hospitals and offices in accordance with a special law of the state insurer.

“PhilHealth is in a gridlock. If they act too swiftly, maco-COA sila. Kung bagalan naman nila, maa-ARTA naman sila. At the end of the day, the law provides that claims must be acted upon within 60 days so that is what we expect from you,” he said.

Some PhilHealth officials claimed that prior to the pandemic, they could process claims within 40 days. However, their backlog began to accumulate after parts of the country were placed under lockdown at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ARTA chief reminded that while he could sympathize with PhilHealth for its difficult work, they must also actively find solutions to move forward to ensure that their agency remains at full operational output capacity even during a global health crisis.

“Lahat tayo ay nasa pandemya. Matagal na tayong nandito. Hanggang kailan natin gagamitin na rason ‘yan?” he said.

“Kailangan hanapan natin ng solusyon ito, otherwise, ‘yung private hospitals ang siyang titirik… I think we’re looking for a solution moving forward,” he added.

PhilHealth Area Vice President Walter Bacareza said some claims also had to be forwarded to the agency’s Legal Department for further review after it were found to have wrong diagnoses.

However, data from PhilHealth showed that of the number of applications with them, only 8.30 percent are Return-To-Hospital applications. Of this figure, approximately .64 percent are because of wrong diagnoses.

While Bacareza claimed that they have shortened their MPR from 14 to only eight steps, Belgica said this can be further trimmed down if they conduct their extensive reviews of medical diagnoses after the release of claims.

“If the submission of documents will be ministerial, the processing of claims would be done much faster,” he said.

He also said that establishing a legal cover would help PhilHealth reclaim uninsured losses in their release of claims.

“You really need to have some legal cover when it comes to your premedical process. Not paying hospitals is not an option because it can lead to their closure which would be a major setback for the nation in the battle against the pandemic. But, at least, a legal cover can help protect you from incurring losses,” Belgica said.

Other issues raised include the non-coverage of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, medicine used to treat COVID-19 patients, by the Standard of Care and the status of unpaid non-COVID-19-related claims.

More meetings between ARTA, FDA, and private stakeholders may be set in the coming days. Officials from the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Inc. (PSMID) will also be tapped to join the next meetings.

Belgica said they will continue to closely monitor PhilHealth to ensure that they are acting upon the President’s directives.