Aquino assures war veterans of better health services; vows AFP modernization



REARMAMENT President Aquino speaks about the modernization of the Philippine military at ceremonies marking Araw ng Kagitingan at the Mount Samat Shrine in Bataan on Monday. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

PILAR, Bataan—President Benigno Aquino III assured Filipino war veterans of subsidized health services and vowed to continue the  modernization of the Armed Forces in Monday’s Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) rites that paid tribute to Filipino and American soldiers who fought the Japanese 70 years ago.

Mr. Aquino, who addressed the elderly soldiers and their relatives gathered at the Dambana ng Kagitingan entirely in Filipino, got thunderous applause when he announced that from March 31, 599 hospitals had been accredited by Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) as regional and provincial extensions, making it easy for the veterans to access medical benefits.

“The state honors our veterans and I believe we should repay their sacrifices by caring for them,” he said.

Colonel Roberto Gacayan, 85, a war veteran from La Union province, urged Mr. Aquino and legislators not to ignore the plight of the war veterans.

“It seems that the government has been slowly forgetting what we did during the war. We hope that our benefits will be increased … We will not live long and we hope that in the remaining years of our lives, we get to feel our true worth,” Gacayan, who heads the Confederation of World War II Veterans’ Sons and Daughters Inc., said.

“If it had not been for our sacrifices, the youth will not experience the freedom they are enjoying today,” he said.

Veterans’ welfare

According to Mr. Aquino, VMMC has been subsidizing services for cataract surgery, coronary angiogram procedure and cardiac bypass operations.

The President again drew applause when he cited the direct remittance servicing system of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), which is done through the banks or automated teller machines. This has enabled war veterans to receive their pensions faster and in correct amounts, he said.

The veterans’ list has also been purged, enabling government to generate savings that are used to support more pensioners, he said.

Ernesto Carolina, the PVAO administrator, said the House committee on veterans affairs had approved an increase in the old-age pension from P5,000 to P10,000, with an increase of P1,000 a year for the next five years.

A bill is also pending in Congress seeking to increase the burial assistance from P10,000 to P20,000.

Carolina said the PVAO had paid P4 billion to eligible pensioners, with the funds coming from the savings made from the purging of illegal claimants.

REMEMBRANCE World War II veteran Pascual F. Coloma, 87, remembers how he fought against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1942, as he grips a .50-cal. machine gun, a relic of the war, at the Mount Samat Shrine in Pilar, Bataan, on Monday.

He said the hospitalization benefits in PVAO-accredited hospitals had been doubled to P800 for a maximum of 45 days. The PVAO also pays for the premium of veterans’ membership in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

Pensions for old age, disability and death are paid to nearly 250,000 veterans, their spouses and descendants, he said.

Leslie Bassett, deputy chief of mission of the United States Embassy, said that in the past two years, more than 18,000 Filipino veterans had received a total of over $220 million from the US government’s Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Program.

Modern military

The President told the war veterans that his administration was working to fully upgrade the capacity of the AFP.

“What we want is that should the situation turn into a conflict, we are able to give a fight,” he said in Filipino.

He then enumerated the latest purchases for the AFP: a Hamilton class cutter, renamed as BRP Gregorio del Pilar, and four combat utility helicopters.

At least 138 projects under the defense acquisition system are scheduled for completion within five years, he said.

Good governance

Mr. Aquino said these are being done because of the good governance of his administration, adding that “integrity and honor result in programs that benefit our people.”

“I know that the morale of government troops is high not only because of housing or combat allowance but also because they know that we have removed the culture of corruption in the [AFP] leadership,” he said.

Mr. Aquino began his speech with lengthy quotes from Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and General Douglas MacArthur, the American general and commander of US forces in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

“I am greatly concerned as well regarding all the soldiers I have called to the colors and who are now manning the firing line. I want to decide in my own mind whether there is justification in allowing all these men to be killed, when for the final outcome of the war the shedding of their blood may be wholly unnecessary,” he said, quoting Quezon.

“It is no joke being responsible for the lives of thousands, millions of your countrymen. President Quezon might have asked himself: What is at stake? Is the sacrifice worth it?” Mr. Aquino said.

He said he did not want the loss of lives. “This is the root of our determination to strengthen our armed forces,” he said.

“All that we have been doing now  to lay the groundwork for reforms, improve the economy and lift our brethren from poverty, come from a single thought: We owe it to those who sacrificed before us to make sure that it is worth it, very, very worth it to live free in the Philippines,” he said.

The occasion, he added, should also be a time to celebrate the strength of character of Filipinos “to fight the enemy with bravery, honor and love for country as the sharpest weapon of all.”

Mr. Aquino also praised the Philippines’ strong alliance with the United States, and confirmed the futility of violence and necessity of working with neighboring nations.

Bataan Day in the US

In her speech, Bassett said some 7,000 people in the United States, including war veterans and students in New Mexico, had joined a reenactment of the Death March yesterday to pass what she called “the torch of memory.”

“Some carried heavy packs to make the journey harder but not as hard as the cruel Calvary our heroes endured,” she said.

“Bataan commemoration takes place today across the United States … and in the many homes where veterans and their memories still dwell. On the high seas, the sailors of the USS Bataan will pause to commemorate this day, including Master Chief Noel Vergara, whose grandfather, Romeo Miranda, was a hero of Bataan,” she said.

Bassett stressed  the importance of preserving freedom that Filipino and American soldiers had fought hard to win.

“Filipino and American soldiers relied on one another to survive the Death March and what came after. Today their children and grandchildren … proudly continue that tradition of friendship and mutual support,” she said.

“Today we live in an era of technological marvel. But you cannot download freedom from the Internet or buy liberty off the shelf. The heroes of Bataan remind us not to take what we have for granted but to cherish our freedom,” she said.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe, who also spoke in Filipino, extended his country’s sincerest apology and deep sense of remorse for the Japanese atrocities during World War II.

He said the Japanese of today are “a far cry” from the Japanese during the war.

Urabe said the United States, the Philippines and Japan had forged stronger ties and were now allies and friends. He stressed the importance of unity among the three countries.

“Sa pagkakaisa, tayo ay lalakas; sa pagkakawatak-watak, tayo ay babagsak (In unity, we will be strong; in   conflict, we will fall),” he said.

Aside from war veterans and their families, former President Fidel Ramos, top military and police officials, Cabinet members, local officials and diplomats attended the Araw ng Kagitingan ceremonies at Mount Samat Shrine. With a report from Christine O. Avendaño 

Originally posted: 6:08 pm | Monday, April 9th, 2012

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  • Rorschach

    “The VMMC, Mr. Aquino said, has also been subsidizing services for
    cataract surgery, coronary angiogram procedure and cardiac bypass

    Very clear na.

    Ah kaya pala itong si Gloria ay nasa Veteran’s Hospital din, kasi Beteranong magnanakaw!!

    • jurbinsky77


  • Mark

    Aquino assures war vets of health subsidies; vows AFP modernization—–HEADLINE

    Kailan NoyNoy?

    Kung patay na ang kalabaw?

    Nag NoyNoying ka na naman, tamad na abnormal ka!

    • Ariel CRUZ

      Katindi ng hatred mo tol..magkano ba ang quota mo araw- araw sa “hate posts” mo?

    • sanjuan683

      Abnoying tigilan muna ang pambobola mo. Pam-uto lang ang mga sinasabi mo komo Bataan Day. hehehehehe

    • JK1000

      Utak Ipsi ka na naman diyan, Marcos loyalist ka ba..

    • jurbinsky77

      Talagang malabo ang ilong nitong isang ito? Those mentioned by the President are on-going programs, so STFU.

  • ferds

    Maawa kayo sa nga dakilang nga beterano, huwag ninyong tipirin dahil sila ang nagbuwis ng buhay para sa ating bayan, iilang taon na lang natitira sa kanila,  binabarat ninyo pa.

  • Ben

    I`m hoping you succeed in modernizing the AFP and deliver the benefits of the heroes of our country. but, words can no longer be enough for us to be complacent, for years we have been promised everything under the sun but, never materialized so I think I am cautiously optimistic and hope that you succeed. In this kind of news that I am with you, mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

    In addition, please start the leasing of the AFP`s white elephant real estates to fund its operation such as for the retirees and current personnel monetary, family & educational benefits, or research and development to upgrade the know how of our military-industrial complexes.

  • Ben

    I am hoping that this is in your agenda, we need radar complexes such as the AN/TPS-59(V)3 Radar Set to keep an eye on our territorial air and seas with a 500 mile wide radius. The North Korean missile is one example of of a justification to buy a radar set, this object can be accurately tracked by our civil defense department with a functioning radar and along with missile batteries we can shoot down or sink anything after ample warning as humanely as possible that threaten our country`s peace and security accurately.

    It is then a good idea to reiterate that the DOTC under Mar Roxas should purchase one AN/TPS-59(V)3 radar for aviation tracking around the country and this will not only can be used for a civilian safety, but also in times of an emergency..such as the launch of the North Korean missile in our territorial area…(2 birds in one stone).Mar Roxas attention, one powerful radar for two uses, civilian and military and that is reasonably cheaper if you are being careful not to waste the people`s taxes, but of course the AFP have to buy 1 to 2 more for a back up and to effectively cover our territorial integrity.

    We need a fixed and mobile missile batteries one at a time can definitely build our missile defenses, we need at least a squadron of F-16 (to intercept the incoming missile as a forward defense) and more hamilton class ships to guard our outermost territories without the armaments stripped out to use their missile capability.The government again should open the NAvy, Airforce properties for lease to support it`s, military industrial complexes, research and development programs or operational expenses. We need more Philippine military scientists in the US to study guidance systems, jet engines and designs, missile and radar technology and jamming technology. The North Korean upcoming missile launch passing our territory which is unacceptable, but we do not have any thing to shoot it down should serve as a wake up call for our authorities to upgrade our tech know how and the need to track and stop a threat. Therefore, we are just nervously looking for Uncle Sam for protection. It is one of this time that the Philippines is reminded that we are dangerously exposed and we must solidify an agrrement for an expanded VFA in locations such as Palawan, Cagayan or subic to help keep our air, surface and underwater territory protected from Chinese Aircraft carriers and submarine intruders or it`s puppet rogue North korean hermit and in combination with our defense build up investment for our security, we can be assured of a longer peaceful and prosperous future generations.

    • Xymann Dario

      that will remain only an illusion as long as our government doesn’t fix itself up to now. 

  • w4d

    Just sign a treaty for a U.S. Base. There will be one sure vote from the Senate in Lapid, whose family are green card holders. Who knows, there may be many more Senators, Congressmen, and military Generals who are actually U.S. citizens serving in the Philippine government willing to do the same. At least we won’t be sitting ducks; plus, we will have additional source of jobs and income.

  • joboni96

    mga beterano
    ng mga gerrang
    pakana ng imperialist u.s.

    hindi naman laban ng pilipino
    nakinabang u.s.

    • Jeffrey James T

      parekoy huwag ka ng  mag comment dito nahahalata ang pag ka mang mang mo.

      • joboni96

        nagsalita ang mangmang
        sa pilipino history

        pang cnn at nicolas sparks lang kasi
        kaya walang laman ang utak

  • Mattino2011

    Modernization natin..inaasa sa pinamlumaan ng mga kano.All we can d is Nokor rocket issue..Ano pang laban natin , quites?

    • rosamistika16

      can afford ka ba bumili ng bago? afford mo magpatayo ng high-tech facilities to track all kinds of world threat?

      sabihin mo kay marcos, ramos, erap, cory, gloria, fg, corona, reyes, garcia, senadores, kongresman, na isuli pera ng pinas na kinurakot nila kong meron man silang nakurakot at bka makabili tayo ng isang brand new aircraft o brand new warfare ship man lang.

      but for now, let’s just be thankful that at least this present government is doing its best to lessen the problem by giving our soldiers a little relief by way of these second hand facilities.

  • JK1000

    These two Inquirer writers should go back to school and learn how to respect the President. So arrogant to even address the President as Mister…Ang yabang niyo naman, o baka talagang wala kayong respeto kahit kanino.

  • filipinaskoh

    Good Job! President NOY
    Keep going on and keep moving on for a better Philippines.

  • tiopaero

    Walang kakwenta kwentang news ito.

  • pepengkabayo

    Aquino assures war veterans of better health services; vows AFP modernization….

    This is the same speech Pnoy is saying whenever there is AFP occasion.
    Almost two years of the same promise of modernization and veterans’ health welfare.

    Old soldiers are not fading away, they are dying of old age.
    Immediate care and attention is now needed.
    No more promises…..Just Do It for Life Is Short.

    • jurbinsky77

      Yes, exactly ..the monthly pension has been increased, a new methodology of distributing pension benefits and a new health care delivery system.

      • Raven Santos

         Saan? Sa inodoro? Sige managinip ka huwag mo lang idamay ang mga beterano sa ilusyon mo. Walang tinupad na pangako yang OGAG mong pwesidente.

  • Jonas

    Promises Promises Promises….. These veterans need it now.  These fools are just going to let it slide until all these veterans are resting in peace… Labo nang balita na ito!!  “Medio Yellowish”


    • jurbinsky77

      Buslot ka.

      Hindi kailangan ng Pilipinas ang mga sinungaling at lumaki at nabuhay sa nakaw na yaman ng bayan.

  • Dynamic

    Mr President,we appreciate all the things you can do,but for some reasons this luisita lingers ’round about you.Can we do something about it?

    It is always better to lose a piece of land rather than losing a soul that is already been fragmented once or twice in this land…

    • Franco

       i totally agree with you.. you even said it “constructively”..

  • joel genese

    Total kaka unti na rin naman silang natitira, dapat i shoulder na rin ng gobyerno ang lahat ng medical expenses nila

  • Jon

    “It is no joke being responsible for the lives of thousands, millions of your countrymen”

    Seryoso ka ba dyan Pwehnoy?
    Yan din ba yung iniisip noong nalulunod yung mga tao sa Mindanao habang inaaliw ka ni Valerie ? At ngayong nagkanda-kuba na ang taong bayn sa mahal ng langis, naisip mo man lang na maibsan man lang ang pag-hihirap nila sa pagbawas sa VAT?
    Ipakita mo sa gawa sana ang parati mong tinatalak lang na salita.

    • michael

      In a recently published news article, it is said that people who dont understand blame the president for rising fuel cost, una hnd hawak ng presidente ang petron, shell at caltex, its actually illigal for him to dictate their pricing scheme, pangalawa we import our oil which is why its so expensive, pangatlo what does your comment have to do with the AFP modernization, no administration has been so commited in modernizing the military than this one,

  • Defenderspen

    Thank you for the assurance Mr. President. Our yesteryear heroes waged sacrifice and spilled their blood for the defense of our democracy, freedom and peace. They deserve to be honored and taken care of!

  • pinoyjunk

    AFP MODERNIZATION should not be just buying a few aircraft that would sooner or later go old or crash and we have to buy again with our scarce money. The first step was to get rid of corruption in the AFP and prevent it from recurring forever. The next step is to start programs to become self reliant in building our own defense equipments. 

  • Night

    make sure you deliver on all of these promises pwenoy……

  • Alajero

    …puro dada…the prez need to walk the talk…his words does not mean much lately…

  • Raven Santos

     AFP MODERNIZATION under an old defense and security concept? Lumang bahay bagong pako!

  • michael

    Andami dito nag mamarunong, at andami npaka negative mag isip, we in the military are experiencing modernization that we have not seen in decades, the 138 projects that is pending approval is not all talk, we are finalizing contracts from differnt countries to buy ships, combat aircraft and helicopters, just wait, i know that right now most of you are ashamed of us, but time will come, you will be proud of your soldiers once again

    • Woo Hoo

      it’s not the poor equipment…. it’s the image of honor and integrity that is damaged every time a crooked general gets caught doing something that is an open secret within the military but is tolerated because “that is how things are done” and the military’s “culture of silence”

      courage, now that is something that the men in uniform have proven time and time again… with their lives. for that, we salute you

    • m1600

      I dont beleived you are a member of the afp maybe from carandang group .

      • Woo Hoo

        iho, magresearch ka muna bago ka makisawsaw sa usapan… nasa internet local military enthusiast forums ang mga projects na yan

      • Haroon Sangkula

        Military enthusiast are hardly credible. Parang kwentong kutchero lang nang mga self-proclaimed military experts yan. Yun nga hangang forums/salita lang mga projects na yan. If you were the military establishment are you going to make public your weapons & strategy?


  • Atlason

    Have you noticed lately that the papers has been showing PNoy in picture on the front pages as “working?” They want to recover from the “noynoying” image which PNoy seem unable to shake off.

    • Woo Hoo

      the same secretly pro-pnoy papers that allow you to post anti-pnoy comments in their online versions?

      oh, and the same papers who published articles about the word that you are using, “noynoying”?

  • billygunn23

    poor penoy…he only knows how to make assurances and vows…wawa naman…

    • INQ_reader

      Did you read just the headline? There were actual results noted there such as 599 actual hospitals accredited by Veteran’s Hospital, and actual purging of veteran’s list to save on pension funds.

  • pizza ria

    kahit saan mong angulong tingnan si penoy, halatadong may sayad, tsk tsk tsk.  sabagay, nasa lahi nila.

  • pizza ria

    looking at the way this guy dresses up would make one believe that he is causing division to our country.  i’ve never seen him pin the Philippine flag on his barong or suite.  he always wears that ribbon.  ano kaya ang nasa utak nitong abnoy na to?  nakakahiya!!!

  • violet55

    As usual, promises, promises!!  He’s always in the campaign mode.  Can’t get over it!  Work your butt off Mr. President and stop your oratorical.  We don’t need that!!

  • neverwint3r

    these same promises were given by many presidents before pero wala namang nangyari. with so many internal and external threats, defense and security should have been the utmost priority. you have here the abu sayaffs, mnlf, milf, npa,. and then you have china aggressions in the spratlys and north korea crisis.

    also, buying hamilton cutters that are 45- years old are not modernization. what the country needs are fast and modern multi-purpose warships that can patrol and defend the countrys huge coastline and territorial waters, do reconnaisance, search and rescue and effectively lock the southern backdoor.

    at least 10 or so Horizon(Italy), Sachsen(Germany), Fremms(France) or even the Daring(UK) class of warships are best suited here. a couple or so squadrons of Dassault Rafales will make china think twice.also need to build the countrys radar network and air defenses.

    at the very least, spend a minumum of 50 to 80 billion usd over the next 5 years. heck, those annual multi-billion pork barrels costs more than these. and where are the proceeds of those military camps that were sold?

    • Woo Hoo

      iho, before you are able to operate and maintain the ships you mentioned, you need to practice first on something like the hamilton, which is far more advanced than anything we currently have

      makukuha din natin ang ganyan, as long as congress approves the budget and we use the time to train our people para naman di masira/madisgrasya ang mga bagong gamit natin

      patience. di pwede madaliin yan.

  • m1600

    Pnoy heart will never be with the veterans, His grandfather SEVILLANO AQUINO was a JAPANESE COLLABORATOR (MAKAPILI). Instead of joining those who opposed the Japanese SEVILLANO choose to be at the other side. and when the inevitable return of american near he escaped to TOKYo before the liberation but was captured by the US forces and sent back to the phil. where He was accused of TREASON and found guilty. his prosecutor was then a young lawyer named LORENZO TANADA. 

    Now tell me PNOY what you have done to raise the economic condition of those who fought for this country the answer is a big NONE!

    • Woo Hoo

      to be fair, before you attack, do some research first….

      check mo sa internet ang mga bagong housing projects at higher combat pay para sa mga sundalo

      wag na yung hamilton at 4 choppers, panahon pa yan ni GMA… pero check mo yung ibang mga gamit na inapruban para sa mga sundalo….

      and most importantly, check mo rin sa internet yung bagong multi-window at multi-year budget for purchasing new equipment na dinevelop ng DBM exclusively para sa AFP modernization ngayon

      “google is your friend”

      • m1600

        my concern is about the WW2 vets!  anyway Tell me how much is the combat pay 150 pesos per day and that is only given  when you are in a specific hot  zone or doing pursuit opn. Maski na sa basilan ka kung regular patrol or camp duty ang  sundalo walang combat pay yan.
         Food allowance sundalo 90 pesos si pNOY bumisita sa munting lupa Pagkain nila na naubos 250,000 sa isang araw grabe ang sarap siguro ng kinain ng mga yan.

        yung mga pinamigay na housing ni pnoy sa PNP personnel panahon pa ni GMA yun . aminin wala namang nagawa si pnoy sa ikabubuti ng mga sundalo biti pa yung MILF binigyan ng 5,000,000 na pamasko ni pnoy at yung RPA/ABB binigyan din ng livelihood project worth millions of pesos.

        But what more demoralizing  to the soldiers  was the decision of delima to free the morong 42 maski yung dalawang kasama nila umamin na NPA sila at di na bumalik sa boondook.  

  • joerizal

    We owe these WWII veterans our country’s freedom and they deserve all the assistance can get from our government – kahit sino pa ang nasa puwesto. They literally shed blood to earn their keep and we should offer them our respect, no less. PNoy is right in that we should condition our armed forces to be able to fight when needed. We should have a defensive armed force, not offensive. Wala tayong pera so we can only put up a token resistance to aggression, but the point is that we will fight with sticks and stones if it comes down to defending our homeland. Whether we win or lose is not a point of argument. That is called patriotism. Cynism and cynics are a dangerous threat to people and government with good intent. Wala tayong pag-asa kung bawat galaw ng gubyerno e paghihinalaan natin at titirahin kaagad.

  • tilney

    Puro kayo puna pero sino presidente ang binigyan ng amerika ng kahit gamit na coast guard cutter hamilton class .kung hindi sa term ni Pnoy dahil malaki ang tiwala ng amerika sa kanya pamahalaan na hangga ngayon ay wala ka marinig na alingasngas pagdating sa pera.. Ang nagastos ng Pilipinas sa pagcommission ng Hamilton class cutter ay sa training expenses lang napunta dahil yon pinadala natin mga Navy sa USA of more than  100 personnel  (for airfare, lodging including allowances of more than USD 100 per day) for more than 6 months.Philippines bought the coast guard cutter by nominal amount of 1 USD.

    Business community including the PSE are quite busy , which show that the country economy is in the upswing.. All these pessimistic view from the Left and right are just part of  muscle flexing since they have to do something or else they will be in limbo and will be out of existent., Noynoying was used by the left to show that Pnoy is not doing his job but he do not have to be always in front of the press/media to answer what he is going to do about the high oil price, which he do not have control.. He do not have to do popular decision such as reduction vat on oil prices just to appease the left.. His responsibility is for the good of the majority it might not be popular but at end of the day, his decision will have a positive impact to most of the filipinos. 

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