PNP urged to jumpstart ATM scheme for retiree benefits

A June 17, 2012 press release from the Department of Budget and Management

DBM Chief: Electronic banking faster, more transparent

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad reiterated the need for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to release retiree benefit payments via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), adding that the switch to electronic banking will allow the government to strike out all ghost pensioners from the current PNP database.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Veterans Office have already made the complete transition to electronic banking for their pension payments. We urge the PNP to follow suit and make ATM payments mandatory for all their pensioners. Apart from speeding up the claims process for the beneficiaries, this will also help the PNP purge their database of ghost retirees.

“As it stands, the check payment system is already a very time-consuming process for the pensioners. They have to go to their banks twice a month and stand in line just to encash their checks. More importantly, though, this system has been heavily abused by unscrupulous groups who have made a sizeable profit at the expense of the Filipino people, with ghost retirees in the PNP defrauding the government of around P250 million a year. This is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” Abad said.

Abad made the statement in response to a nationwide rally organized by the Retired PNP Officers Association, which protested the Aquino administration’s move to switch to an ATM-based payment system. The rally will be held on Monday, June 18, across all DBM regional offices.

The protesters likewise decried the delay in the implementation of the 3rd tranche of the pension adjustment for PNP and Integrated National Police (INP) retirees, claiming that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had not yet released the funds to support their pension increases scheduled for June 2012.

Abad however confirmed that the funds released earlier this year to the PNP can sufficiently cover the required pension adjustment, adding that the PNP will still need to update its list of confirmed pensioners before the release can be made. The PNP earlier reported that at least 66 percent or 40,233 retirees in its database have been confirmed as genuine, while some 20,694 names have yet to be verified.

“The DBM already gave the PNP adequate budgetary support to cover the pension adjustments for their retirees. However, because the PNP is still in the process of cleansing its pensioner database, the third tranche adjustment cannot be fully implemented yet. In other words, the ball is in PNP’s court. They need to finish weeding out the ghost entries from their list, and in the process, enrol the confirmed pensioners to an ATM account for future pension releases,” Abad said.

Abad noted, however, that just over 2,000 of the roughly 60,000 PNP pensioners have so far enrolled in ATM accounts.

“We call on the Retired PNP Officers Association to begin securing ATM accounts so they can receive their pension payments much faster and more efficiently. We ask for their support on this measure, not just because of the conveniences they will enjoy from it, but also because it is critical to establishing transparent and accountable budgeting within the PNP,” Abad said.