Billions in veteran benefits go to 'ghost pensioners', says Drilon

"Ghost" stories from wars are real, a senator said, as he bared that such entities have taken billions from state funds in recent years.

At least P4.2 billion yearly ended up in pockets of "ghost pensioners," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Franklin Drilon said in a statement Wednesday.

This means that the government has been providing pension for "non-existing veterans or fictitious claimants," he added.

Citing data reported by Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Drilon noted that the government's annual budget of P15 billion for pensions of veterans has been cut to P10.59 billion after a "cleanup."

The said amount, which is included in the 2013 budget, will pay 231,081 pension claims.

"The difference of about P4.2 billion saved on a yearly basis is made possible with the effort of PVAO to flesh out the fraudulent claims," Drilon said.

The PVAO cleanup involved sending pension through banks instead of the old system wherein pensioners get their benefits cheques sent via mail, the senator added.

"I commend the efforts they have undertaken to make sure that only the legitimate pensioners and veterans would be provided the benefits under the law," Drilon said.

He noted, however, that the government owes war veterans P3.5 billion for their total administrative disability benefits which were left unfunded in the past years.

Drilon said his committee will study items under unprogrammed funds which can be cut to accomodate the gap.

Also to be studied is the integration of uniformed personnel's pension into the Government Service Insurance System to address what Drilon called a "looming military and police pension crisis."

"About 53 percent, or P40 billion, of the budget of the Defense Department is for the payment of pensions. There is hardly any fiscal space for capital outlay and modernization program," Drilon said.

The amount is also expected to increase to P71.58 billion in 2013 and up to P92 billion in 2017, he added.

"We have to resolve this before it reaches to a point where our budget for pension is much higher than our budget for the salaries of active personnel," Drilon said

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Chronicling the komedya in Antique VERA Files - The Inbox
    Chronicling the komedya in Antique

    By Alex C. Delos Santos, VERA Files The first time Cecile Locsin-Nava, a scholar on cultural studies in Western Visayas, came to Antique around ten years ago was to gather data for a research on the korido, or Philippine narrative … Continue reading → …

  • Ayungin dilemma Ramon Casiple - Parallaxis
    Ayungin dilemma

    China faces a dilemma in Ayungin Shoal and other contested areas. If it waits for the ITLOS—which may decide against it—it would have tacitly bound itself to UNCLOS and risk a rogue state reputation if it asserts its claim in the South China Sea. If its militarily acts now, it may face international isolation. …

  • 48 nabbed in biggest anti-trafficking catch in Bongao VERA Files - The Inbox
    48 nabbed in biggest anti-trafficking catch in Bongao

    By Jake Soriano, VERA Files Bongao, Tawi-tawi—A team of Marines and policemen intercepted around noon Thursday 48 people, 12 of them minors, believed recruited by a human trafficking syndicate for work in Malaysia. The arrest constitutes what advocates called the … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options