DBM releases P2.9B for World War II veterans’ total administrative disability
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management has released P2.9 billion to pay for the long-awaited total administrative disability (TAD) pension of close to 17,000 living World War II veterans, Secretary Florencio Abad said Sunday.
Abad said the amount would support the pension requirements of 16,980 veterans who were validated from 1994 to 2012. This will be charged against the Pension and Gratuity Fund.
“This release supports the government’s budgetary assistance to our living war veterans and their families,’’ Abad said in a statement.
Speaking at the Araw ng Kagitingan in Bataan on April 9, President Aquino said the government was working on a full payment of the TAD pension, including a monthly P1,700 for veterans who have reached 70.
When a veteran reaches 70, he is deemed totally disabled, entitling him to such a pension.
In June, PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina assured the veterans that the President has approved funding for the TAD pension.
While this was mandated by Republic Act 7696 of 1994, many of the veterans have died without receiving this benefit.
Before releasing the amount, the DBM had to validate the list of living veterans submitted by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office by comparing it with the list of regular pensioners of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who were considered veterans by virtue of their age.
This was undertaken to ensure that only veterans who served in the war, and in Vietnam and Korea would be covered by the fund release, Abad said.
“Since making the switch from check to electronic payments for our veterans’ pensions, we were able to update the pensioner database and clear it of ghost entries, allowing us as well to improve transparency and accountability in the government’s pension payment,’’ he said.
Digitization measures have also enabled the government to generate savings that could be used to support future releases for unpaid pension arrears, he said.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin had said that PVAO generated P4 billion in savings in 2010 mainly because of delivering pensions through the automated teller machines.
The savings were used to pay for TAD arrears to veterans from 2003 to 2009.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.