Senate OKs bill increasing Filipino veterans’ pension by 300%
The Senate has passed on the third and final reading a bill that will increase the monthly pension of Filipino war veterans by 300 percent — from P5,000 to P20,000.
All 20 senators present on Monday’s session voted to approve Senate Bill No. 1766, or An Act Increasing the Monthly Pension of Veterans — which will benefit around 6,000 veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Senator Gregorio Honasan, who authored and sponsored the proposal, said it is a tribute for soldiers who placed their lives on the line for peacekeeping efforts.
“The passage of this measure would be a fitting tribute and an act of gratitude to our World War II veterans, the Philippine Expeditionary Forces veterans of the Korean War and the Philippine Civic Action Group veterans of the Vietnam War who sacrificed much so that we, their descendants, may live in peace and freedom,” Honasan said.
If enacted, the measure is the first increase for the veterans’ pension since 1994, or more than two decades ago.
“Soldiers, unlike ordinary mortals, for a great part of the prime of their lives, lived in battlefields, away from their loved ones where, as a World War II veteran writes, they ‘learn the ache of loneliness, the ache of exhaustion, the kinship of misery,’” the senator, a former soldier himself, said.
“For our senior veterans, this stoicism is carried to this day as they find themselves in another forlorn arena, battling old age and debilitating ailments as well as financial difficulties,” he added.
The additional pension is still non-transferable to any of the veteran’s relatives or dependents. In case of the veteran’s death, the pension that his or her surviving spouse will receive remains at P5,000.
Veterans who have not been receiving their monthly pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are also entitled to this adjustment.
The proposed law’s initial implementation will require a budget of P1.18 billion, which will be sourced from 2018 budget of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), while the budget for the succeeding years would be included in the General Appropriations Act. /ee
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