Veterans office says no payments made to dead pensioners

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THE PHILIPPINES Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) on Friday clarified that there were no payments made to dead pensioners last year, which was flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).

In its 2018 annual audit report, COA said that a total of P70.25 million were given in monthly pensions to deceased beneficiaries.

“There is no truth that dead pensioners were paid. The truth is there were over remittances made because in the payroll, it is unavoidable by the time you put a payroll, may namamatay (someone dies) and at the time na (that) you remit the funds, may namamatay [rin] (someone also dies),” said PVAO Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo.

Mr. Carolina noted that PVAO has a partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the Philippine Postal Corporation for validating and updating the list of pensioners.

“We pay the Philippine Statistics office P40,000 a month…. PSA gives us a monthly death list and we pay them because they cross-reference with our monthly pension payroll. Kaya pag may namatay, immediately alam namin (That is why when someone dies, we are immediately informed of it),” he said.

He added, “We also have a contract with Philpost… pinupuntahan ng (There are visits by the) postman all over the country, once a quarter… kukunan ka ng picture, kukunin yung finger print mo, papapirmahan ka ng update form (He take pictures of them, get their finger print, and let them sign the update form).”

Of the P70.25 million, COA said only P33.795 million was recovered as of year-end, while the remaining 51.89% or P36.454 million has yet to be refunded.

Mr. Carolina explained that they have a system wherein the pension amount is first placed in a PVAO account if there is an indication that the receiver could have already died.

Kapag may indicator na baka namatay, nandun siya sa payroll at ire-remit namin yung pension (If there is an indicator that the pensioner might be dead but still in the payroll and we are due to remit the pension), the pension goes to our PVAO account. Hindi muna iki-credit sa kanyang (It will not yet be credited to the) individual account.”

“We want to make sure that eligible beneficiaries get pension. So hindi ka talaga makapag-pensyon at makapag-withdraw kapag patay ka na (You really will not be able to get your pension and withdraw if you are already dead),” said Mr. Carolina. Vince Angelo C. Ferreras