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Acceleration of National ID system sought

A HOUSE leader has proposed the acceleration of the National ID system and the passage of his Electronic Health and Telemedicine Development Act to prevent fraud in claims and benefits at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, said structural reforms for PhilHealth would help newly appointed head, former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran address longstanding issues of corruption and mismanagement in the state health insurance system.

“The immediate rollout of the National Identification System, coupled with a national health database, with a one-patient, one-record system, would make it easier to spot cases of false identity, and fraudulent sickness declarations. Linking this with a national prescription database would also help identify and prevent over prescription,” Salceda said.

In a related development, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said attending to various concerns of the Department of Health (DoH), Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and PhilHealth is not an easy task for a man who has made advancing public health care in the country a personal mission.

“These are not normal times and it is not easy for me to just accept all the blows. I attended the Senate hearing to cooperate with the Senate in ascertaining the truth. I am disappointed though that the Senate has recommended the filing of charges against me when I have not done any wrongdoing,” said Duque who still trusts that the Senate will be fair to him in the performance of its mandate.

But Duque branded as “baseless” the findings of the Senate Committee of Whole that recommended the filing of graft charges and other criminal offenses against him and other officials of the PhilHealth, adding he never participated in any of the deliberation on the controversial Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) and did not sign the resolution on the matter.

“How can the Senate implead me on Resolution No 2515 series 2020 (Annex A), of which I did not participate in the deliberation and did not sign the said document? Why are they pinning me when the rest who participated in the deliberation and signed the IRM resolution were not included? Is the Senate so intent in removing me that they invent a finding that is not supported by official documents?” Duque asked.

“If the findings are by design so that they can remove me, let it be said that I have a constitutional duty to do my job unless the President says otherwise. If my service is no longer needed, I will go but I will clear the name of my father first because I have not caused any injury to government. We may have differences in policies, on how to manage the pandemic and the like, but I continue to do my job despite the attacks made against my person,” Duque pointed. “Trabaho lang po.”