Senseless COA requirements burden military pensioners
I write on behalf of the many retirees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines whose pension differential has been withheld by the Commission on Audit (COA), pending the submission of documents which are senseless and unreasonable. Let me enumerate these requirements and explain why they are unnecessary and devoid of any iota of rationality:
1. Enlistment order
2. NSO-certified birth certificate
3. Retirement order
4. Retiree’s ID
5. Proof of life
Requirements 1 and 2 are mandatory documents before anyone is accepted in the AFP. Requirements 3 and 4 are issued by the AFP Pay and Gratuity Management Center (PGMC). Requirement 5 is conducted annually by the PGMC.
Many of us have been receiving our pension for many years now. Hence items 1 and 2, by elementary logic, must have been complied with. The COA’s requirements 1 and 2 are akin to asking a doctorate degree holder proof that he has graduated from elementary school.
The PGMC is the depository of all the above documents. Why didn’t COA ask the PGMC for copies of these documents rather than withhold the long awaited differential of many retirees?
There was no written notice from the COA re the withholding of the differential. Thus, most of us endured the toxic Edsa traffic to find out the reason for withholding the differential. Pensioners from the provinces are affected the worst. In his inaugural speech, President Duterte directed government functionaries to cut red tape. The COA’s act contravenes the President’s instruction.
Rather than making difficult the lives of those who served in the military, the COA should instead channel its energy in cleansing its ranks of corrupt personnel and eliminate opportunities for corruption. Red tape is one of them.
I hope this concern will reach the Office of the President as feedback regarding a government agency’s failure to comply with his orders.
LEONARDO P. LOPEZ, retired brigadier general, AFP, firstname.lastname@example.org
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