Peace negotiator is new PhilHealth head

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed the government’s chief peace negotiator with the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) as head of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The President approved the nomination of Alexander Padilla as president and chief executive officer of PhilHealth on June 13.

A former Health undersecretary, Padilla replaces Eduardo Banzon who resigned in January this year.

Padilla served as head of the government panel negotiating with the communist rebels since November 2010. The talks, however, collapsed.

Palace deputy spokesman Abi­gail Valte said Padilla can manage PhilHealth and negotiate with communist rebels at the same time.

“With the appointment, there should be no problem in how he manages to juggle his tasks. His records in the past will show that he has been able to do multiple tasks in different areas,” she added.

Valte said Padilla’s frustration over the pace of the peace negotiations has been raised to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Negotiations between both sides have been stalled since 2004, giving rise to continued human rights violations, according to human rights watchdog Karapatan.

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