This is with reference to the article titled, “PVAO must care for WWII vets and widows. And answer its hotline” published in the Manila Times on June 3, 2014.
We appreciate your expression of concern for the welfare and well-being of our clients, particularly the veterans and their dependents.
For the information and appreciation of our citizens, may we request that this statement also be given the necessary space in your prestigious paper so as to explain the root of the problem raised in the article and more importantly, let them know about the solutions we have been doing, both on the technical and manpower aspects.
The technical side of the problem is rooted in the decades-old telephone cables inside Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo where the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) is located. Our telephone service provider can only install its cables up to the gate of the camp, thus, from the gate to our office, we only rely on these old cables for connection. In the past, the agency still finds a remedy for bogged down telephone lines of Camp Aguinaldo but now, the situation of the old cables has worsened.
As a benefits and service delivery institution for veterans, we realize that it is imperative for us to improve the efficiency of our telephone communication system to ease the burden of our clients by minimizing their need to personally transact with our office.
Thus, we have decided to buy our own cables and terminal to stabilize the connection and add several lines to address the ever-growing number of calls from our clients. As a matter of fact, since the second week of May 2014, about the same time the online petition started, PVAO has undertaken the repair and rehabilitation of its telephone cables and the subsequent transfer of those cables to a new terminal.
We have also requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to reactivate our old military lines and provide additional ones to make it easier for our pensioners residing near military camps to contact us at no cost to them. These lines are now available and we are just waiting for the new handsets.
Since it would take a little while more before the rehabilitated lines get fully operational, PVAO is also doing remedial measures to address the situation.
Additional wireless phones have been produced for its frontline service divisions such as the Claims, Finance and Records Divisions that have large number of callers, mainly for the revalidation of their living status. A new set of telephone numbers, both landlines and wireless, will be posted in our website, pvao.mil.ph.
We have also equipped these divisions with mobile phones since it’s cheaper for our clients, especially those in the provinces, to make follow-ups through text messages instead of making long-distance calls.
On the manpower issue, please be informed that PVAO already has assigned dedicated personnel to answer the telephones.
Aside from telephone lines, PVAO has other feedback-gathering mechanisms. Our clients send us text messages through the “I-text si Administrator” service (type PVAO, space and send to 2920), private messages through our Facebook Page and e-mail in our PVAO web support (email@example.com). Walk-in clients also accomplish survey forms in order to give feedback on the quality of our services.
We share our pensioners’ sentiments, value their feedback and suggestions, and with all these initiatives, we give them our assurance that this matter is being seriously and urgently dealt with.
Again, thank you very much for your genuine concern for the welfare of our defenders —the Filipino Veterans, and their families.
Very truly yours,
LT. GEN. ERNESTO G. CAROLINA, AFP (Ret)
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office