Marcos eyes pension hike for war veterans
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said the government was looking for ways to give additional support to the country’s war veterans through a pension hike.
In a media interview on the sidelines of his attendance at the state commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan in Mt. Samat in Bataan, the President said his administration was prioritizing the strengthening of the pension system of war veterans.
“What we are looking at is to how to strengthen our pension system of our [war] veterans. Because nowadays, if the system is not fixed, [the funds] will not last long because a big amount is allotted for the pension,” Mr. Marcos said.
The system should ensure that all veterans will receive their correct pension, he added.
The President clarified, however, that the reform of the pension system for war veterans is not included in the reform being pushed by the administration for retired military and uniformed personnel.
Armed with bolo
He said that with a stable pension system, the government would also find out other benefits that could be given to remaining World War II veterans, who were recognized and paid with their back pays only a few years ago.
All Filipino fighters—including those called “bolo men” or the civilian and guerrilla forces armed only with bolo knives who fought against the Japanese invaders—will also continue to receive recognition and pay from the government, the Chief Executive said.
“We will continue to recognize them and to the fighting soldiers who survived, the front-line fighters, we really need to take care of them and help them because of their gift of freedom that they gave us here in the Philippines,” he said, adding that there are only around 1,000 remaining World War II war veterans.
The President said he hoped his attendance in the Araw ng Kagitingan ceremony at Mt. Samat would help Filipinos remember the sacrifices of World War II soldiers.
He added that it was during the war that Filipinos demonstrated their being fearsome warriors, earning the moniker “Fighting Filipinos.”
“Our most important triumph, though, was that we kept on fighting and that we never lost hope. For although we lost the battle, the Fall of Bataan marked the beginning of the Filipinos’ resurgence as a fighting force to defend and to take back the land of their forefathers,” he said in a speech.