PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, yesterday said they have launched another program to promote camaraderie between active and retired police officers and men across the country thru their ‘Pensioner Ko, Sagot Ko’ project.
The project is another form of effectively tracking and monitoring all police pensioners who in the past have complained of being neglected by the PNP leadership despite giving the best of their years to help ‘serve and protect’ the public.
“This new program will be implemented in three phases as a buddy system which includes matching and pairing with an Active Personnel Buddy to a Pensioner-Buddy; Initial Wellness Check and Visitation of the Pensioner; and Quarterly Wellness Check and Visitation,” Gen. Gamboa said.
According to the PNP chief, police personnel with the rank of Police Lieutenant Colonel down to Patrolman/Patrolwoman will be tapped in consolidating and reporting timely information and the physical condition of pensioners.
Their reports in turn will be assessed by the PNP Retirement and Benefits Administration Service (PRBS) and the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) for further enhancement of the program.
“The core objective of this program is to foster a sense of camaraderie and fellowship between and among 207,866 PNP personnel in active service and about 90,000 pensioners nationwide,” said Gen. Gamboa.
The PNP-PRBS headed by Colonel Arthur V. Bisnar last February 26 launched its ‘Oplan Bilang’ with the support of all 17 PNP regional directors in the country. The program aimed to account, update and collect the biometrics of police pensioners nationwide. However, the implementation of the project was abruptly cut by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last April , the program was continued with the help of the 17 Police Regional Offices and their subordinate units down to police stations in order to locate and account for all police pensioners.
Gen. Gamboa also tapped the PNP Regional Directors to take the lead in accounting for the remaining 17,145 pensioners.
As of last June 7, only 13,523 PNP pensioners were duly accounted as a result of the PRBS project.
Last January, the PNP said there are 92,215 pensioners who are included in their Alpha List and funded under PNP Pension Fund allocated in the 2020 General Appropriations Act.
Gen. Gamboa ordered the accounting amid a PRBS report that only 50 percent or 43,991 pensioners updated their records in 2019. He also ordered the PRBS to review and conduct an inventory and accounting of pensioners due to the very low turnout.
“My objective was to continue strengthening the gains of the Modified Nationwide Accounting of Pensioners in accounting and updating the records of our pensioners who are residing in different cities and municipalities nationwide. Some of them are even currently living abroad,” the top cop said.
During its initial implementation, police officers were sent to monitor the condition and status of some police retirees since last month. The project has earned positive feedbacks from active and retired police officers and men.
Former Police Superintendent Antonio Carbajal thanked the PNP Chief for initiating a better ‘buddy-buddy system’ that looks after the welfare and status of the retirees. On the other hand, retired Police Senior Inspector Carlito Tumamao described the PKSK program as one of the best PNP programs to help retirees specifically the senior citizens and those with disabilities and who can’t travel without the assistance of another person,
PNP Academy Lakan Retirees Association president, retired Brigadier Gen. Pedro Bulaong, joined the number of retirees who have shown their appreciation to the PRBS program. "Thank you very much for your very laudable project. This program will help the PNP retirees very much," he said.
Last month, the PNP also scored on its crackdown on so-called ‘ghost pensioners’ following the identification of a widow of a deceased policeman who intentionally did not report the death of the latter in 2019 in order to claim his pension for a year which amounted to more than P500,000.
According to Bisnar, they have filed criminal charges against Mrs. Lucila de Mesa, the widow who was found to have continued to receive her husband’s monthly pension although he had died on February 18, 2019. “By deliberately misinforming the PNP about the death of her retired policeman-husband, this woman managed to collect her husband’s monthly pension for more than a year,” said Bisnar.
According to the official, the widow managed to claim her late husband’s pension totaling P535,355.93 from the time of his death until the fiasco was discovered by PRBS investigators.
Gen. Gamboa said following the discovery of the anomaly, he wants stiffer penalties imposed on fake pensioners and claimants for overpayment as part of the national monitoring and accounting of pensioners program of the PNP leadership.
The PNP accounting targeted the remaining 21,223 PNP pensioners who were not able to update their records in 2019 and failed to avail of the initial Nationwide Accounting with Biometrics from February 27 to March 13 this year and the ensuing updating held from March 14 to last May 11.
According to Gen. Gamboa, he has ordered Bisnar to modify and streamline the process of accounting of PNP pensioners to fit the New Normal; adhere to the community quarantine guidelines and protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force in the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and most importantly, protect the pensioners who belong to the most ‘at-risk and vulnerable’ age groups.