'P115-M budget was for 1,341 desktops', says PhilHealth official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 12:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2020 01:05 PM

'P115-M budget was for 1,341 desktops', says PhilHealth official 1

MANILA - A PhilHealth official on Tuesday denied claims of overpriced items in its proposed information and technology (IT) budget for 2020 including an alleged P115 million budget for one laptop. 

In her presentation before the Senate, PhilHealth senior vice president and chief information officer Jovita Aragona showed that a P115 million budget for PhilHealth was for 1,341 regular desktops (with 3-year warranty) priced at P86,000 each. 

Another P4.1 million allocation was for 6 laptops with high-end specs priced at P56,000 each, 21 laptops with regular specs at P50,562 each and 53 laptops with small form factor specs at P51,200 each. 

The PhilHealth official also denied board member Alejandro Cabading's accusation that one item worth P98.07 million was only labelled as "three projects." 

"Items have names /titles in the 2020 proposed IT Budget. The "not found" in Comptrollership could be the issue on different document being reviewed by the Internal Audit (Summary vs Details)," Aragona's presentation showed. 

Cabading earlier accused his colleagues and the state insurance firm's president and CEO Ricardo Morales of approving the budget for overpriced equipment and software initially pegged at P2.1 billion.

Aragona, however, said her department's proposed budget has yet to be approved by the board and it would revise its information systems strategic plan (ISSP) following the expenditure plan's approval.

"I will not so much detail every overpriced (claim) because the messaging there is the budget has not been approved. You really cannot compare those ones. There will be varying amount because of the system updates, market trends and technology," she said in a Senate investigation on alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

"Once this budget gets approved, that is the time we’re going to amend our ISSP and submit that to DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) for their review and endorsement."

Among the allegedly dubious items in PhilHealth's IT budget are as follows:

  • P21 million for Adobe Master Collection software (DICT-approved cost: P168,000)
  • P40 million for application servers and licenses (DICT-approved cost: P25 million)
  • P5 million for structured cabling (DICT-approved cost: P500,000)
  • P42 million for identity management software (DICT-approved cost: P20 million)
  • P21 million for office productivity software (DICT-approved cost: P5 million)
  • P25 million for application servers and virtualization licenses (DICT-approved cost: P14.8 million)
  • P4.11 million for 2 sets of laptops
  • P115.32 million for 1 set of laptop

Aragona said the proposed budget for the Adobe Master Collection is pegged at P504,000, not P21 million.

She also denied that 24 units of procured network switches were unused as cited in a Commission on Audit report.

"These 24 switches are assigned to our regional PhilHealth offices. These were previously used and packed and resealed due to reasons these will be transferred to new locations, room improvements and pending delivery of rack cabinets," she said.

'P115-M budget was for 1,341 desktops', says PhilHealth official 2
Source: PhilHealth

As for the supposed double entries cited by Cabading, Aragona said the names are the same but "the scope, coverage of the services... are actually different."

"We’re very much willing to give to you or show to you the past transactions and terms of reference as well," she said.