Veterans office bats for increase in disability pension

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2023 05:31 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Filipino war veterans attend the celebration of the Leyte Landings Diamond (75th) Anniversary Commemoration program at the MacArthur Landing park in Tacloban City on Oct. 20, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) on Tuesday said it was pushing for an increase in disability pension, despite President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.'s recent backing for proposals to reform the pension scheme of military and uniformed personnel. 

PVAO administrator Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu said his office wanted to raise the total administrative disability pension (TAD) to P4,500 for those with the lowest disability rating and P10,000 for those with the highest disability rating. 

The current TAD rates range from P1,000 to P1,700, under a 1990 law that standardized and upgraded the benefits for military veterans. 

The law is outdated, said Mapagu. 

"Mayroon tayong mga nakasalang ngayon sa Kongreso na itaas ito, hopefully this will come to pass so maging batas ito... Dahil matagal na kasi itong batas na ito... sana nga maayos natin ito, maitaas naman," Mapagu said in a televised briefing. 

(We have pending proposals in Congress to raise this, which we hope would pass. This is an old law, we hope we could fix it.)

In a separate interview with the media, the official said if passed by Congress, the law would be "of great help" to veterans, most especially those who fought in World War II. 

"Parang, wala na nga ring ano oh, pagbigyan, lalo na yung World War 2 veterans. Kasi mga matatanda na yun diba? Bakit P1,700 lang?" he said in a phone interview. 

"Ganoon lang yung ano natin eh. I-push na yung maximum, P10,000," he added. 

(We hope they could consider World War 2 veterans. They are already old. Why give them only P1,700. We will push for the maximum, P10,000.) 

Video from PTV

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who is pushing for the raise in the disability pension, said 1,484 veterans were between the age of 90 and 99 last year, many of them bed-ridden. 

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno last week said Marcos, Jr. would push for reforms on the pension scheme for military and uniformed personnel to prevent a possible "fiscal collapse." 

Diokno noted that for this year alone, government allotted around P120 to 130 billion for the pension of unformed personnel, which he said was no longer sustainable.