PACC head appalled by PhilHealth 'corruption'

PRESIDENTIAL Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Gregor Belgica yesterday described irregularities in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) as an extreme continuing problem because of its system.

"Ang issue ng PhilHealth, grabe po ito. Grabe ang nakawan, grabe ang kakapalan, at grabe ang kawalanghiyaan," Belgica said in his opening statement during the 2nd hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole.

Belgica explained that the information technology system of the agency has no validation mechanism resulting in the manipulation of several employees and hospital.

The official also stressed that some regional offices of PhilHealth seem to be covering up some irregularities saying there is almost no case filed by PhilHealth against erring officials. 

"Mula ulo hanggang paa ang korapsyon sa PhilHealth...marami na kaming inimbestigahan, kinasuhan, pinatanggal, at pinakulong pero ang isyu ng Philhealth grabe po ito. Grabe ang nawakan, grabe ang kakapalan, grabe ang kawalang hiyaan. Ito po ang mensahe ko sa mga empleyado ng PhilHealth kapag may nakawang nangyari at hindi ka umimik ang tawg sayo kasabwat. Sa banal na kasulatan, ang pagnanakaw ay hinahatulan ng parusang kamatayan," Belgica stressed.

Meanwhile PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales admitted that the “systemic” fraud within the agency cannot be solved in one year or even in years to come.

“Fraud has always been in the system as it has always been in all similar health systems in the world,” he said.

“The problem is systemic and cannot be solved in one year, maybe not even in three years,” he added.

Morales also admitted miscalculating the time required to get an IT system up and running, which he earlier touted could address fraud in the agency.

“One year was not enough and the budget was inadequate for the job. The internal anti-fraud mechanism were inadequate and inappropriate to address the internal weaknesses, the resources necessary for the transformation of an organization of this size and the mission given to it are not found within the organization,” he said.

“From the management, in all humility, we commit hard work, dedication, transparency and full cooperation in this investigation and all agencies so together we can achieve the goals of universal healthcare,” the PhilHealth chief said.