Administrator's Corner: PVAO Reforms in Progress
PVAO plays an important role in achieving the government's reform agenda in improving veterans' quality of life, a fitting gratitude to the sacrifices they have made to bring peace, freedom and democracy to our nation. Cognizant of this role, PVAO officials and employees work untiringly to re-engineer our systems, simplify our procedures and streamline our processes for an effective and efficient delivery of services to our clientele.
Our roadmap towards reforms is our Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP), the result of the Integrity Development Review jointly conducted by the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit and Development Academy of the Philippines and funded by the European Commission on 2007.
As Head of the agency, one of my top priorities is the steadfast implementation of reform plans focusing on the improved quality of health care for our mostly ageing and ailing pensioners. We want our veterans and their families to feel how important they are to us by ensuring that they are well taken care of. We have consolidated all hospitalization benefits with the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, one of Asia's best in providing geriatric health care. To address similar needs of our pensioners in the provinces, we have strengthened our coordination with various government hospitals that could cater the healthcare needs of the veterans, especially those residing in far-flung areas. A team composed of PVAO and VMMC representatives will visit these accredited hospitals to inspect their facilities and determine the capabilities of the hospital staff to provide medical services to our beneficiaries.
Another priority in our reform agenda is the improvement of the delivery of our services to our pensioners. To address PVAO's organizational weaknesses, we have submitted to the Department of Budget and Management a revised Rationalization Plan wherein critical units and functions were emphasized and adequate checks and balances instituted. The Rationalization Program strengthened the functions of offices such as Management Information Division, Accounting Section and Finance Division. More importantly, we have integrated all benefits processing units into a one single Claims Division, thus simplifying all the claims procedures and processes. With the cooperation of our employees, PVAO now has a stronger and more effective policy against fixers, to include the creation of Anti-Fixer Action Group and Anti-Fraud Section. To show that PVAO is serious about it, errant personnel have been immediately dealt with by way of preventive suspension. Consequently, appropriate charges, both administrative and criminal in nature, have been lodged against fixers caught red-handed. My leadership shall see to it that these people would be meted with appropriate punishments for exploiting hapless pensioners / claimants, not just to deter similar acts from occurring but also to convey a strong message to our pensioners that "PVAO can be trusted."
The Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System (DRPSS) which shifted pension delivery from the postal to the banking system has been fully effected, saving the agency the nuisance of mishandling pension checks and facilitating better monitoring of pensioners. From such endeavor, PVAO has generated savings which were used to pay unfunded obligations for our veterans. We will continuously strengthen our tie-up with our accredited banks and financial institutions to institutionalize monitoring of pensioners thereby avoiding future losses of government funds due to unreported cases of pensioner's death. The cleansing of PVAO's Pension List shall be a continuing process.
However, enhancing the quality of our services is not enough. To complement its reforms, PVAO shall not cease undertaking innovative projects that produce tangible, direct and lasting results that will promote the welfare and well-being of our veterans such as our Medical and Dental outreach programs in the far-flung provinces. We have also overhauled our Data Management System to a more-efficient data cleansing program that is more responsive to our clients.
Sustaining the reform is a real challenge that we face. We have to continue investing on our human capital. In the last three years we have supported training activities that developed the proper attitude, ethics and values of our people. We equipped our division chiefs and supervisors with additional organizational skills and enhanced our employee's technical skills. A blue print of reforms has been published and the PVAO Code of Conduct serves as guide for our dealings with our pensioners/clients.
The Integrity Development Council (IDC), an independent body which comprise of members from different government offices and organizations, regularly evaluates and monitors the performance of PVAO in the implementation of its IDAP.
Amid the hectic duties and non-stop tasks, nonetheless, I want our veterans to know that the Administrator's door is always open to them. I hope to hear from our stakeholders suggestions and recommendations on how we can be an institution they can truly be proud of.