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Latest News Philippines: DBM okays release of veterans pension – Journal.com.ph:
THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved the release of Php1.95 billion to the Department of National Defense- Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (DND-PVAO) to fund 226,365 pension requirements from October to December this year.
“President Aquino recognizes the needs of our veterans, who played a large role in defending national security in the course of our history. This fund release, which will cover their pension requirements until the end of the year, should help our veterans account for their living expenses. It is also an expression of the President’s commitment to assist those who have served this country well in times of conflict,” Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said yesterday in a press statement.
The Php95-billion release supplements the Php14-billion previously released to PVAO to support veteran pension requirements from September to October this year, effectively closing the office’s pension deficiencies for 2012.
The release will be charged against the Retirement Benefits Fund under the 2012 General Appropriations Act. The fund covers old age pension, survivorship pension, regular disability pension, and total administrative disability pension.
According to the budget chief, the DBM is currently working with PVAO and LandBank to update the existing pensioner database and clear it of deceased veterans and ghost entries.
“This year, the programmed budget for pension was lowered and was coupled with an un-programmed fund to make it comparable to last year’s budget. The split will likewise encourage the defense department to purge their master list of pensioners and beneficiaries of ghost pensioners. To aid this process, we’ve piloted the release of pensions through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs),” Abad added.
The results of evaluations last August revealed that the number of pensioners, as cleansed, is 103,492 or 56% only of PVAO submissions. However, some pensioners receive more than one type of allotment based on their need.
“By moving to the ATM scheme, we can improve transparency and accountability in our pension releases. As much as we aim to assist our veterans, we want to accomplish this in a responsible manner so that every peso is well-accounted for,” Abad said.
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