MANILA - There are 5,000 members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) who are more than 130 years old, with the agency unsure whether they are still alive.
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales revealed the information during a Senate inquiry on Tuesday, justifying the agency's need for a better information technology system to curb fraud and corruption.
"Kung makakakuha tayo ng sapat na budget for IT, mai-implement ito, mare-reduce natin significantly ang fraud," Morales said.
When asked about how a better IT system can help prevent corruption, Morales said the agency needs a better system to update its database.
"Yung ating membership database, we have 109 million members. Pagka mayroon tayong information system, may biometrics ho tayo, hindi ho puwedeng magkamali sa identity noong member. Alam din ho natin kung buhay 'yung member," he said.
"For example ho, mayroon tayong 5,000 members na, according to our database, ay 130 years old. Hindi ho natin puwedeng matanggal ito dahil wala ho tayong dokumento na nagsasabing namatay na itong mga taong ito at ang pinaka-importante ho ngayon sa kahit anong korporasyon ay ang data processing."
PhilHealth's initial information technology (IT) budget for 2020 was pegged at P2.1 billion, but the proposal was rejected after a review of the costs showed that multiple items were either overpriced or were redundant, said Alejandro Cabading, a certified public accountant who was part of the agency's board of directors.
Cabading said the budget proposal was questionable because several items were priced up to quadruple the amount approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier found that PhilHealth wanted to procure 15 "catalyst switches" for P4.81 million, while the market price was just at P939,360, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
The Senate investigation into alleged irregularities in the state-run firm was held as lawmakers eye to amend the law that created the agency to stem corruption and embezzlement in the office mandated to shoulder the medical bills of Filipinos.