MANILA -- The Senate Committee on Finance on Tuesday ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to screen its list of pensioners after it revealed that around 35 percent of its proposed 2011 budget of P104.6 billion will go to pension payments.

He said there are currently 284,000 pensioners under the Philippine Veteran Affairs Office (PVAO), 111,149 of whom are supposedly either World War II veterans or the surviving spouses of veterans.

Drilon said he doubted there are that many veterans still alive to collect their pensions, adding the PVAO is supposed to present the committee with its entire list of pensioners.

“We want their names, dates of birth, addresses, and the account numbers that the PVAO sends the money to.”

The AFP uses 80 percent of its budget on the salaries of active soldiers and the pensions of veterans.

With just 20 percent of the budget left for operating expenses and capital outlay, Drilon said: "we cannot hope to modernize." (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)