THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is continuing its ‘Oplan Bilang’ to account, update and collect the biometrics of all police retirees and their survivors nationwide and address the problem posed by so-called ‘ghost pensioners’ which has defrauded the government of millions of pesos thru the years, said PNP chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.
A known son of a World War 2 pensioner, the country’s 26th PNP chief last week asked all PNP retirees and their survivors to regularly update their records and help address delays in the release of their pension and other benefits vis-à-vis their continuing effort to purge their list of so-called ‘ghost pensioners.’
According to the top cop, there is a need for all PNP pensioners to regularly update their records with the PNP Retirement and Benefits Administration Service (PRBS) to facilitate efficient transaction of pension benefits and other claims and help them exclude from the list those who are already not qualified to receive monthly government pension as mandated by law.
He said this is needed to avoid further delays in the release of retirees’ benefits as a result of the need for correction of data entries due to the non-updating of the latest status of all 92,215 police pensioners in the database of the PNP PRBS.
Gen. Eleazar said the need for correction of data entries is among the reasons for the delay in the full implementation of the Calendar Year 2018 pension differential to 87,657 PNP pensioners.
The PNP-PRBS on February 26 last year launched its ‘Oplan Bilang’ with the support of all 17 PNP regional directors in the country. The program aims to account, update and collect the biometrics of police pensioners nationwide earning it kudos from police retirees nationwide.
The PNP leadership also wants to protect the pensioners who belong to the most ‘at-risk and vulnerable’ age groups by seeing to it that men in uniform will be visiting them in their houses.
The PKSK program also promotes real camaraderie between active and retired police officers and men. The program sees to it that there will be a ‘buddy system’ which includes the matching and pairing of an Active Personnel Buddy to a Pensioner-Buddy; the Initial Wellness Check and Visitation of the Pensioner; and Quarterly Wellness Check and Visitation.
Policemen with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel down to Patrolman/Patrolwoman are involved in the program to ensure that over 92,000 PNP pensioners are fully accounted for and their biometrics and pictures taken, whether they are here or abroad.
PNP Director for Comptrollership, Major Gen. Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. reported to the Chief PNP that due to the non-completion of required data of 11,081 accounts that needed updating, the Department of Budget and Management was only able to process and release funds to support one-month pension differential covering the period December 2018 on top of the regular release of pension.
Maj. Gen. Azurin cited some factors behind the backlog in the release of the 2018 pension differential such as: the re-computation of the pension due for survivor pensioners of deceased police pensioners; disqualification of transferee/survivor pensioner upon reaching the age of majority; and the disqualification of survivor/widow pensioners due to subsequent re-marriage.
He said that of the total 87,657 pensioners qualified to receive the CY 2018 pension differential, 58,973 were already paid, including 2,966 accounts in Batch 5 that were paid last May 21 while 3,904 more are listed in the 6th batch pay-out this month.
PRBS records indicate that 11,081 accounts are due for revalidation while 13,699 accounts are disqualified for various reasons.
The PNP chief nonetheless assured that the PNP is undertaking its best efforts to expedite the processing of all pending pension differential claims due to qualified pensioners.
“I personally have a soft spot in my heart for pensioners. My late father who was a World War II veteran sustained our family partly through his meager pension. I too, am going to finish my career in the police service in a few months and will soon join the ranks of the retired sector, “ Gen. Eleazar said.
“We are aware of the difficulties encountered by our pensioners in updating their records because of some restrictions in movement during the community quarantine period,” he added.
The PNP, Gen. Eleazar said, is responsive to these concerns of the retirees, the reason why they initiated the “Pensioner Ko, Sagot Ko (PKSK)” Project wherein PNP Pensioners need not go out of their house to update their records as a designated Active PNP Personnel Buddy or APB will come over to their respective residences to facilitate the updating procedures.
The PKSK Project is also being supplemented by the PNP Pensioner Online Accounting System, a convenient way for all PNP Pensioners to update their status online and be validated by their respective APB.
“Kabilang ito sa pinapatupad natin na Intensified Cleanliness Policy (ICP) sa hanay ng kapulisan upang mapa-bilis ang proseso ng mga administrative transactions sa PNP ng kapwa internal at external clients natin,” the top cop said.
The PNP and AFP received equal amount of allocation for pension differential from DBM, the PNP Comptroller said.
According to PRBS Director, Brigadier Gen. Sidney S. Hernia, of the 92,215 PNP pensioners listed as of January 2021, a total of 24,400 are unaccounted in the house visits under the PKSK Project.
A subsequent revalidation trimmed the number down to 10,815 unaccounted PNP pensioners whose pension accounts were subsequently placed on “tag and hold” status.
Hernia explained that the unaccounted pensioners may have either moved to another address, migrated abroad, or did not specify accurate contact information.
Thus, he advised all concerned PNP retirees or survivor pensioners who are yet to be accounted to report to the nearest police station for the designation of an Active Police Buddy (APB) and to facilitate updating and documentation of their pensioner records.
Acting on instructions of President Duterte, the PNP leadership early this year stopped requiring surviving spouses or other beneficiaries of deceased police personnel to physically process their claims and benefits at Camp Crame.
According to Gen. Eleazar, the PNP already observes the provisions of PNP Memorandum Circular 2017-075 published on Dec 26, 2017 which lessened the burden of the beneficiaries of posthumously retired/separated PNP personnel in the processing of claims and to ensure the expeditious release of all benefits due them.
As such, the Chief of Office and Unit Commander of a deceased PNP member is mandated to designate a “Survivor Officer”, tasked to assist the bereaved family or beneficiary in securing the documents required in the processing and timely release of death benefit claims, the PNP-OIC said.
The Survivor Officers are also tasked to regularly liaise with the bereaved family and update them on the status of the processing of the benefits due to them.
The PKSK program of the PRBS was started by Brig. Gen. Arthur V. Bisnar, now the PNP Headquarters Support Service director and is being continued by his successor, Brig. Gen. Hernia.