PVAO: Demised Filipino veterans' kin won't get US lump sum benefit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2009 09:41 AM | Updated as of Feb 20 2009 05:41 PM

Only living Filipino veterans of the Second World War will receive their lump sum benefit from the United States government, a Philippine defense official said Friday.

Ernesto Carolina, Defense undersecretary for veterans affairs, however, said relatives of Filipino veterans who have already passed away should not lose hope because they will work with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) for their benefits.

"Let's not say there's no hope form them. Our strategy is to get the $198 million [lump sum Filvet fund] and then we'll lobby... We'll see if their survivors and dependents are entitled," Carolina told ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."

The defense official said there are an estimated 18,000 US-Filipino veterans in the Revised Reconstructed Gala Roster or "The Missouri List." He said 12,000 Filipino veterans on the list are living in the Philippines and 6,000 are in the US.

The US congress passed last week passed into law the $787 billion stimulus bill, which included a provision granting recognition and lump sum benefits to Filipino veterans.

The provision provides a one-time and tax-free $15,000 for Filipino veterans who have become US citizens and $9,000 for non-US citizens, including those living in the Philippines.

On Thursday, hundreds of Filipino veterans and the dead veterans' relatives trooped to the Philippine Veterans' Affairs Office (PVAO) in Camp Aguinaldo to apply for the lump sum benefit.

Several relatives of the demised veterans said it would be unfair if their fathers and grandfathers to be delisted from the rightful beneficiaries of the lump sum payment.

Carolina said PVAO accepted at least 450 applicants. The application documents will be turned over to the USDVA at the US embassy in Manila for approval.

He said the USDVA will simply confirm with The Missouri List the names of the applicants for the approval. He added that a qualified Filipino-US war veteran can receive the one-time lump sum payment in a month.

The defense official added that the lump sum payment will be given by the USDVA in peso.