DEPUTY Speaker and Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Eduardo “Bro. Eddie” Villanueva on Thursday called on the government to intervene so that the much needed and delayed upgrading of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PhilHealth) information technology (IT) system will push through.
Villanueva, founder of Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL Church) and the House Deputy Speaker for Good Governance and Moral Uprightness, stressed this following the alleged systemic corruption and collusion in the PhilHealth during the on-going congressional hearings into the alleged corruption in the state insurer body.
He underscored the importance to procure the soonest possible time the IT requirement for the upgrading in order for payments and disbursements of PhilHealth funds will not be at the mercy of the alleged conniving corrupt PhilHealth officials and health care institutions.
“We fully support the comprehensive investigation being done on the officials of PhilHealth amidst the corruption scandals hounding the agency and we demand that those who will be found liable of pocketing public funds must be held accountable and penalized.
However, we appeal to the government to intervene, at the same time, in order to pursue the procurement of the needed information technology, which was previously stalled after being found to be grossly overpriced. It is apparent from the proceedings of the investigations that an improved IT is very much crucial to deter and prevent fraudulent claims in the future,” said Villanueva.
“Concrete measures shall be undertaken in order to address the perennial problems of fraud and overpayments in PhilHealth and I think upgrading and capacitating its information technology system is crucial. The government can either direct PhilHealth Board of Directors to procure it now while closely ensuring adherence to procurement laws or let other agencies, like the Procurement System of the DBM, do it for PhilHealth. Unless we institute systemic reforms in PhilHealth now, its funds will always be exposed and vulnerable to fraud and stealing,” Villanueva added.