THE Philippine Army paid the salaries and wages of “297 ghost soldiers” amounting to P21 million in the first quarter of 2014, according to the Commission on Audit.
A CoA Annual Audit Report of the Philippine Army for 2014, showed that out of the 297, at least 37 were confirmed retired, deceased and discharged from the service but continued to be paid their salaries.
“The Philippine Army paid salaries and wages totaling more than P21 million to personnel no longer in active service or in the employ of the Army,” CoA said.
For this reason, the CoA ordered the Army to “require the refund of P1.24 million by 37 military personnel and determine the status of the remaining 260 military personnel who were paid P20.04 million.”
Out of the 81,674 average monthly personnel of the Army included in the payroll for the period January to March 2014, CoA said, the 297 personnel were not included in the masterlist/roster maintained by the Plans and Research Branch, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, G1 since they are military and civilian personnel who are already retired, deceased or discharged/terminated from the service; hence, resulted in the payment of salaries and wages totaling P21,293,423.26.
“Regular account for the period January to March 2014 showed that the Philippine Army has an average monthly payroll of 2.2 billion for salaries and wages of 81,674 personnel [average] consisting of 80,795 military personnel and 879 civilian employees,” it said.
It said the payment of salaries and wages of those no longer in the service resulted in the “overpayment/doubtful payment of salaries and wages.”
CoA revealed that 297 personnel in the Philippine Army payroll for January to March 2014 were not included in the master list maintained by the Plans and Research Branch of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel.
The CoA found “gaps in the payment of salaries and wages of military and civilian personnel of the Philippine Army.”
CoA also found the discrepancy in the master list and payroll roster was due to the G1 and the Electronic Data Processing branch of the Philippine Army using different reference documents in the updating/preparation of the master list and payroll files.
Inquiry from the Plans and Research Branch, Operations Group 1, the updating of the masterlist/roster of personnel of the Philippine Army is based on the roster of troops submitted by the G1 of each Philippine Army Major Units, it added.
Each unit, CoA said, conducts daily head count of their personnel to determine their status (on official leave, on official travel, Awol, etc.), which is summarized in the Morning Report and serves as the basis in the preparation of the roster of troops.
“Realizing that one major deficiency in the human resource management of the Philippine Army is the absence of a working database program that can account for its personnel and generate accurate personnel information in real time, personnel accounting system was established,” COA said.
The Operation Group1 has developed a modified information system called Personnel Accounting Information System (PAIS) in order to address this perennial problem, COA said.
The database program which passed its pilot-testing at the Operation Group 1, Philippine Army has already automated a lot of manual work in the Office; hence, the reason for increased efficiency. The system is capable of generating the following reports in real time:
a) PA roster of Troops (Listing of military personnel and their unit of assignment);
b) Total Annual Re-enlistees for Reenlistment Clothing Allowance (RCA) projection (Used in projecting the Re-enlistment Clothing Allowance because of detailed information of military personnel);
c) Attrition listing as basis of Procurement Programming such as discharged, retired,separated, deceased, terminated personnel.
However, COA said, despite the application of the system, there was inaccuracy of data on the PA masterlist/roster of troops.