MANILA -- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales on Thursday said liaison officers of recruitment agencies issued fake PhilHealth receipts to a number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Morales made the statement in response to cases filed against four of PhilHealth's previous and current officials over their failure to act on a scheme which stole PHP1.2 million from OFWs who paid their PhilHealth insurance premiums from 2014 to 2018.

Morales said the PhilHealth reported the incident to the National Bureau of Investigation in 2015 for a more thorough investigation, and created a memorandum of agreement "to file appropriate criminal cases for guidance on the necessary legal actions to take against the perpetrators".

"Contrary to reports that some PHP16 million were lost due to the said scam, PhilHealth has verified a total of PHP1.2 million worth of contributions that are with fake receipts. To date, PhilHealth has recovered a total of PHP430,000 from these agencies, while the balance is in various stages of recovery," he added.

To prevent a similar scam from happening, Morales said PhilHealth is strengthening its information technology (IT) system and coordination with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for a mechanism assuring OFWs their premium contributions are properly remitted to and accounted for.

Morales added such action is pursuant to the approval of POEA’s Governing Board on the matter in January 2019. (PNA)