Drilon bats for new law to 'reorganize' PhilHealth, outsource modernization plan

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 04:17 PM

Drilon bats for new law to 'reorganize' PhilHealth, outsource modernization plan 1
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon participates in a Senate hearing on February 24, 2020. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday pushed for the creation of a new law that would allow President Rodrigo Duterte to "reorganize" the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), which has consistently figured in alleged anomalies.

The series of Senate investigations into the alleged irregularities in the state-run insurance firm showed that there is "very rampant corrupt practices" in PhilHealth, Drilon said during the hearing.

"Our problem today is we have to go through [the] Civil Service [Commission] so we cannot address the corruption," he said.

A new legislation "would provide immediate relief from corrupt practices and would weed out corrupt ones without being able to claim that there is no just cause for their termination," he said.

The PhilHealth's modernization program should also be "outsourced" after investigations showed that several officials have been overpricing equipment needed to upgrade the insurance firm's systems.

"If we have a prestigious IT company doing the computerization, then we will just have to pay for the services... without going into these bidding processes embedded with corruption," Drilon said.

PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales earlier said the insurance firm needs P2 billion to upgrade its system to make flagging irregularities easier.

But his former head executive assistant Etrobal Laborte said that several IT firms have been offering to upgrade PhilHealth's system "at no cost to government," but their offers were allegedly not taken.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier warned PhilHealth officials that they would be held responsible for irregularities in the agency.