The Palawan Provincial Board has formalized its support to the passage of two House bills allowing President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the scheduled increase of premium contributions of two state-owned insurance companies.

Legislators cited the current economic downturn due to the COVID-19 crisis as a reason to temporarily suspend premium hikes of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS).

Two resolutions supporting the passage of House Bills 8316 and 8317 were approved Tuesday, both authored by board member Ryan Maminta. The resolutions both cited the economic disruption, unemployment, and loss of job opportunities caused by the current pandemic as reasons to pass both house bills.

“PhilHealth members would greatly benefit from the temporary suspension of the scheduled increase in the premium rates of PhilHealth during the current health emergency the country is facing,” one resolution read.

“Since the declaration of the Public Health Emergency, several regulations, and lockdowns were implemented for the health and safety of the people that consequently placed their means of livelihood subject to severe disruption of economic activities,” the second stated.

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House Bills 8316 and 8317 were filed on January 7 by House Speaker and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. House Bill 8316 seeks to amend the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Law by granting President Duterte to suspend the increase of premium contributions of PhilHealth members, while House Bill 8317 seeks to defer SSS members’ contributions upon consultation with Department of Finance (DOF) chief Carlos Dominguez III.

Velasco filed the two bills after President Duterte in early January urged the House of Representatives to create legislation that would authorize him to stop the premium hikes. The UHC and the Social Security Act both specify incremental increases of members’ premium contributions this year, both of which were met with protest due to the ongoing economic downturn due to the COVID-19 crisis. PhilHealth also continues to be under public scrutiny after investigations of allegedly stolen P15-billion funds ceased.


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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.