This is in reference to Robert A. Garcia’s letter titled “There’s ‘something fishy’ at PVAO, coffers empty?” (Inquirer, 9/5/11) Garcia sent the letter in behalf of his grandmother Josefina Armada Aranas who, as a surviving spouse of a veteran, is a PVAO (Philippine Veterans Affairs Office) pensioner, whose regular monthly pension check used to be mailed to a rural bank in Zambales where she maintains a savings account.
It may be recalled that effective 2010, PVAO totally shifted its pension delivery method from mail to Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System (DRPSS). Under DRPSS, pensions are directly remitted to PVAO servicing banks and AFP financial institutions. At the end of the year, 98 percent of our pensioners had complied with the requirements for DRPSS enrolment and began enjoying a full range of banking services from the online automated systems of their chosen servicing banks. In order to fully stop the printing and mailing of pension checks, PVAO notified the remaining 2 percent whose pensions continued to be remitted through rural banks, and advised them to open a pension account in any of PVAO’s accredited pension servicing banks.
In the case of Aranas, PVAO sent her a letter in April 2010 directing her to do the same. For some reasons, Aranas failed to respond and communicate with PVAO in spite of several follow-up letters; thus, her pension was suspended on March 2011 after almost a year of no contact, and her name was included among those presumed dead and needing proof of life.
PVAO instituted stricter measures following the discovery of dead pensioners who continued to be sent pensions, to protect PVAO’s genuine veterans and beneficiaries and to prevent fraudulent claimants and identity thieves from “stealing” pensions and benefits. This explains the longer process it now takes PVAO to act on demands for the resumption of pensions, particularly to those on the watchlist of probably dead pensioners.
Last May 2011, Aranas submitted the requirements for the revalidation of her pensioner status and subsequent enrolment to the DRPSS. The good news is that after thorough processing, her identity and legitimacy has been established, and the resumption of her pension has been approved effective October 2011 and her pension arrearages will also be fully paid.
May we also clarify that police clearance is not among the basic requirements for the resumption of pension. What PVAO requires—on the need basis—is a recently issued barangay clearance to establish the identity and residency of pension claimants. PVAO does not require additional documents other than those listed in our Citizens Charter which is posted on our website— www.pvao.mil.ph—along with other significant information regarding veterans’ benefits.
We encourage the public to report to us any violation of this rule by giving us a call at (02)912-4526 or through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also invite everyone to send us feedback through SMS by texting PVAO, (space), message and send to 2920.
—ERNESTO G. CAROLINA,
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office