Estrada wants online death verification system established

(GMA News) Senator Jinggoy Estrada filed a bill on Wednesday that seeks to establish an Online Death Verification System (ODVS) to ensure government efficiency and strengthen fraud detection.
Senate Bill 1436 seeks to facilitate the sharing of information between the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and government bodies that manage insurance and pension funds to suppress any fraudulent acts. 
It proposes a centralized and integrated online database from which the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can access timely information on mortality data, which would enable them to easily verify claims and update their own records.advertisement

In filing the bill, Estrada cited 2019 reports of “ghost dialysis,” where a certain dialysis center was filing claims before the PhilHealth on behalf of their dead patients since 2016.

“[T]he scheme highlighted weaknesses in the bureaucracy and lack of cooperation among government agencies as it provided impetus for stronger anti-fraud mechanisms and more effective fraud detection and prevention efforts,” Estrada said.
The lawmaker also mentioned the “ghosts voters” which he said is a “perennial problem” of the country’s electoral system.
“Come Election Day, their names could be used by unscrupulous individuals to manipulate the results, hence undermining the integrity and credibility of the electoral process,” he said.
“The bloated book of voters, along with double and multiple registrations, also leads to unnecessary expenditures as funds are spent [on] the printing of such additional ballots.”
In line with the objective of the creation of the ODVS, the bill seeks to establish a centralized and electronic database called the Philippine Death Check (PDC) Register, to be maintained by the PSA, which will contain mortality data registered with the Local Civil Registrar.
The PDC Register may take the form of any existing information and communications technology-enabled or online civil registry database established, maintained, and managed by the PSA, which can be reconfigured, modified, or upgraded for the purposes and objectives of the measure.
Once death is registered with the Local Civil Registry, the information shall be immediately uploaded to the PDC Register Electronic System.

SB 1436 tasks the PSA, in coordination with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC), with implementing programs to facilitate immediate and timely access to mortality data registered with the Local Civil Registrars.
Under the proposed measure, the PSA will have the exclusive authority to make changes and amendments to the PDC Register to ensure its security and integrity and to safeguard it from data breach, tampering, and loss.  
The bill states that government agencies that will be granted access to these data shall ensure the confidentiality of any personal information that comes to their knowledge and possession.

These shall be used exclusively for verification and authentication purposes in relation to the lawful performance of their official functions and mandate.

Section 8 of SB 1436 provides penalties for the following acts:

  • unauthorized processing of personal and sensitive information
  • accessing personal and sensitive information due to negligence
  • processing of personal information for unauthorized purposes
  • unauthorized access or an intentional breach
  • any personal information controller or personal information processor, or any of its officials, employees, or agents, who, with malice or in bad faith, discloses unwarranted or false information relative to any personal information or personal sensitive information obtained by him or her.

A similar bill, which was filed by then Senator Richard Gordon, was heard by the Senate committee on economic affairs during the 18th Congress. — VBL, GMA News