PhilHealth's Morales defends alleged 'overpriced' IT project

PhilHealth's Morales defends alleged 'overpriced' IT project

MANILA, Philippines — The P2.1-billion worth of the proposed information technology project of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is “paltry” against the “tens of billions a year” that the agency has lost over fraud.

Such was the defense of PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales on Tuesday for the alleged “overpriced” IT program, which is supposedly designed to stop fraud and scams within the agency.

“If the corporation stands to lose tens of billion a year through fraud which can be avoided by information technology, then the alleged overpriced P2.1-billion IT program over 3 years appears paltry indeed,” he said during on the alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

Morales claimed the agency needs to overhaul its current information management system, which manages 109 million members, 40,000 accredited healthcare professionals, 8,5000 health care facilities across the country.

Its current system, he said, is “fragmented, aging and overextended ministered by overworked IT professionals.”

“The main solution to the systematic problem arise in a robust integrated and harmonized information management system, running a clean, complete, and updated membership database,” he said.

The Commission on Audit earlier flagged the IT project for having rife with irregularities.

COA and PhilHealth’s resident auditors saw as “anomalous” the planned procurement of various equipment worth P734 million, which was not contained in the original budget proposal submitted by the state insurer.

A group of , in their report in May, found the budget for five “ICT (information and communications technology) resources”—computers, scanners and other items—was overpriced by P98 million.