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Vets to get P20,000 a month

/ 05:10 AM January 12, 2019

VETERANS’ MODELThe Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City is a model for Philippine veteran officials who want to improve Libingan ng Mga Bayani and make it at par with its US counterpart. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—The old-age pension of World War II (WWII) veterans will be P20,000 in January, up from the P5,000 monthly pension they had been receiving in previous years.

President Rodrigo Duterte had signed into law Senate Bill No. 1766, or An Act Increasing the Monthly Old-Age Pension of Senior Veterans, last week, according to Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, who attended the 74th Lingayen Gulf Landings anniversary and 12th Pangasinan Veterans’ Day celebration here on Wednesday (Jan. 9).

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Surviving senior veterans of WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as those who have not been receiving pensions from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, would be entitled to the P20,000 monthly pension “to tide them over so that their remaining years will be comfortable,” Carolina said.

The additional pension, however, may not be transferred to any of the veteran’s relatives or dependents. In the event of the veteran’s death, the monthly pension of the surviving spouse remains at P5,000.

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WORN BY TIME Many World War II veterans are now sickly and had to be brought in a wheelchair to events like the 74th Lingayen Gulf Landing anniversary. —WILLIE LOMIBAO

Other benefits

Aside from the monthly old-age pension, WWII veterans also receive a monthly disability benefit of P1,700 and a hospitalization benefit of P1,500. They are also entitled to a burial benefit of P20,000.

Carolina said most WWII veterans were 90 years old. On the average, about 300 of the war heroes die every month, usually from pneumonia, he said.

After WWII, there were about 350,000 veterans. At present, only more than 5,000 of them are alive, Carolina said.

In Pangasinan province, there are 217 living WWII veterans, down from 275 in January last year. Eight of them are aged 100 years or older.

As important as providing additional benefits is for the veterans, the government wanted to make sure they would not be forgotten, Carolina said.

The government has released P456 million for the development of Libingan ng Mga Bayani to make it at par with its American counterpart.

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“Mt. Samat, a shrine of heroism located in Bataan [province], is now a tourism enterprise zone,” Carolina said.

“The government had been investing [in the shrines] so that when our people visit these places, they would know how great our nation is. Filipinos who would go there will have a sense of national pride and love of country,” he said. —GABRIEL CARDINOZA

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