Passage of pension hike bill ‘urgent’ as PH loses 300 war vets monthly — Pvao
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (Pvao) administrator and Defense undersecretary Ernesto Carolina said war vets, severely diminishing in number, have long been waiting for the passage of a pension hike bill for senior veterans.
“You can just imagine the long waiting our senior veterans [have done]. They’ve been praying that this measure be passed,” Carolina said on Wednesday during a hearing conducted by the Senate committees on National Defense and Security, and Finance.
Senate Bill No. 1766 or the proposed “Act Increasing the Monthly Pension of Senior Veterans” seeks to increase from P5,000 to P20,000 the old age pension of senior veterans who fought during the second World War, Korean war and Vietnam war to supplement their resources.
The problem is not with the budget but with the diminishing number of senior veterans who are the beneficiaries of Senate Bill No. 1766, Carolina said.
“As far as the bill 1766 is concerned, money is not the issue. The issue is about the diminishing number,” he said.
“We are losing our World War II veterans at the rate of 300 a month, approximately 3,000 a year and there are only 6,074 and we are counting by the day,” he explained.
“They were about 26,000 when this was filed during the Fifteenth Congress… 16,000 in the Sixteenth Congress, now they are only 6,074,” he recounted.
Carolina assured that Pvao has sufficient funds to meet the amount needed for the pension hike.
“For this year, if it is approved in July, we [will] get P560 million [since] we have P620 million in our savings,” he said.
Some veterans showed up at the Senate hearing to express support for the passage of the bill.
Retired justice Manuel Pamaran, a veteran, said “the presence here of our aging veterans is a strong appeal to the authorities concerned that their health or survival is now.” — Kristine Macasiray/INQUIRER.net Intern
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