400% pension hike for veterans gets House panel's nod

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2018 05:13 PM

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte interacts with the war veterans on the sidelines of the National Heroes Day Commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on August 28, 2017. Ace Morandante, Malacanang Photo

MANILA - The House committee on appropriations has approved a proposed law that raises the old-age pension of war veterans to P20,000 from P5,000. 

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, who filed House Bill 270, said the current pension for the country's 6,000 surviving veterans is not enough for their basic needs.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country. They invested blood, sweat, and tears. In return, it is only fitting that we repay their service by taking care of them in their old age,” said Roman in a statement. 

The House panel approved House Bill 270 after introducing an amendment providing that the pension increase shall be limited to senior veterans of the World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars; and shall not be transferable to any family members and/or dependents. 

The amendment provided further that the veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars would not receive a separate pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

The current P5,000 pension for veterans was approved in 1994 or more than 24 years ago, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) administrator Ernesto Carolina noted during House hearings. 

The country's remaining veterans are dying at a rate of 300 per month, added Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, who sponsored the bill as chairman of the committee on veterans affairs and welfare. 

"In less than 3 years, we will never see them again. That’s why this measure is very timely," he said. 

"And I ask that there should be a strong representation also to the Senate so that this will be fast-tracked, a counterpart bill will also be processed," he added. 

Funds for the bill's initial implementation -- amounting to P120 million per month -- shall be charged drawn from the budget of the PVAO this year. Thereafter, funding will be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), according to a House of Representatives statement.