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Drilon: National ID data sharing could prevent fraud.

The sharing of data among government agencies under the national ID system could help prevent fraudulent transactions such as the 'ghost dialysis' scandal now plaguing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Sen. Franklin Drilon said on Friday.

The Senate Minority Leader said full implementation of the national ID system would provide a foolproof mechanism to verify the existence of a person, as well as to determine whether he or she is still alive.

Drilon rejected claims that a person's death was a privacy issue that an agency like the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) could withhold from PhilHealth, which is under fire after the Inquirer exposed a scheme involving continued collection of PhilHealth payments for dialysis treatment of patients who were already dead.

'What danger would it pose to the deceased person, or his or her family, if PhilHealth knows that he or she is already dead?' he said in a statement.

On Wednesday, a PhilHealth spokesperson said the agency tried in January to verify whether patients at WellMed Dialysis Center, the private facility at the center of the alleged fraud, had died, but this was denied by PSA, citing data confidentiality.

Drilon, a former justice secretary, said the fact of death was 'not a sensitive personal information that PSA should withhold, particularly if it involves the disbursement of public funds.'

'This is just a factual question answerable by just yes or no, but is very important for PhilHealth and other agencies disbursing public funds for the benefits of claimants to know in order to verify the legitimacy of a claim and prevent fake, illegal and fraudulent transactions,' he said.

Once the national ID system is in place, according to Drilon, agencies tasked to disburse public funds for the benefit of claimants, including PhilHealth, can readily verify information about the claimant before they disburse pubic funds.

In August last year, President Duterte signed the law creating a single official identification card for all Filipinos, bearing information about the person such as an identification number, full name, gender, blood type, birth date, place of birth, marital status and address.

Malacanang announced a pilot test of the system in September.

Drilon urged PSA, as the repository and custodian of all data and tasked to implement the national ID system, to enhance its data-sharing capability.

He said the objectives of the law would be achieved more efficiently if PSA would be more open to sharing data relevant to service delivery.

'The establishment of a single national ID system and an effective data sharing between and among government agencies could help prevent fraudulent transactions from arising in the future,' Drilon said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 15, 2019
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