Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales and other high-ranking officials approved the purchase of overpriced equipment and software amounting to millions of pesos, a board member of the state-run insurance firm said Tuesday.
The PhilHealth’s initial information and technology (IT) budget for 2020 was pegged at P2.1 billion, but the proposal was thumbed down after a review of the costs showed that multiple items were either overpriced or were redundant, said Alejandro Cabading, a certified public accountant who was part of the agency’s board of directors.
“There were numbers in the IT budget and financial reports that do not add up,” Cabading said during a Senate investigation.
Cabading said the budget proposal was questionable because several items were priced up to quadruple the amount approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Among the allegedly dubious items in the 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)
The “anomalous” proposal also had questionable items like two sets of laptops with one amounting to P4.11 million, while another worth P115.32 million.
Another item priced at P98.07 million was only labeled as “three projects,” Cabading said.
“I tried to find a solution by raising this with management, but the most frustrating part is it seems that management seems to be tolerating this act,” he said.