Members of the AFP Retirees and Pensioners National Coordinating Council led by Prof. (Major) Alfonso Besario (lower row, center) presenting the petition they filed seeking the release of pending pension arrears of retired soldiers.
MANILA, Philippines – Some retired soldiers and families flocked to the Court of Appeals (CA) on Monday, September 24, to seek the court’s assistance in implementing the decision made by the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2015 regarding their unreleased pension.
The AFP Retirees and Pensioners National Coordinating Council (AFPRPNCC) wants the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to act on the COA’s approval to release almost P18B worth of pension arrears of retired soldiers.
“The COA said we have made a decision, it is up to the DBM, DND and AFP to implement that decision and yet these three agencies of the government, with due respect, they are not complying it sincerely and faithfully. Only one-third of that 18.960 billion was released,” said Prof. Alfonso Besario (Maj. Ret) the group’s national president and chairman.
Some of them openly shared their sentiments as they have long been waiting for the compensation due to them for serving the country for many years.
“Mahirap talaga kasi ang differential na iyan ay inaasahan din namin. Halimbawa iyong mga maintenance namin, pambili ng mga gamot, pangangailangan sa mga bahay namin, iyong mga pang araw-araw. Siyempre malaking tulong din sa amin iyan,” lamented widower Lorinda Sudela whose husband, a retiree, died due to heart ailment.
(It’s been difficult for us because we were counting on the differential for our maintenance medicine, household needs and everyday expenses. It would be a huge help.)
“Maraming hindi pa nakakakuha noong differential na iyan. Kasi siyempre inaantay naman nila. Iyong iba pinagkakamatayan na, hindi na nakukuha iyong pera nila. Kaya ang mga kaparehas kong balo andun lang naman ang inaasahan na pera. Bakit naman iyong iba nakakuha na? Bakit kami wala pa?” said another widow, Susana Tahamid.
(Many retirees have yet to receive the [pension]differential. Others have died waiting for it. Widows like me have only [the pension differential] as our means of income. How come some were able to receive theirs while ours are still missing?)
The UNTV News and Rescue Team tried to reach the side of the three concerned agencies but no response was made as of this writing. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)