Release of veterans’ funds urged
THE government should immediately release P17 billion in disability funds to benefit the more than 80,000 pensioners and World War II veterans and their surviving spouses, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Thursday.
He also urged the government to look for funds to finance the disability benefits of the widows of 16,237 veterans amounting to P2.7 billion.
“The administration has underspent on many projects from different departments and agencies,” Binay said.
“It can very surely allocate funds for the veterans and the wives of deceased veterans. Many have died before receiving their benefits.
“Do we have to wait for our veterans to die and the spouses of the dead veterans to pass away?”
Binay said the P5,000 in monthly benefits to veterans should be increased to P20,000 as proposed by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.
The law says a veteran aged 70 and deemed totally disabled should receive P1,700 in monthly pension. But as of 2010 the veterans’ unpaid pensions had reached P25 million as the law has not been implemented.
The 28,993 World War II veterans started receiving their pensions totaling P4.1 billion in April 2010, and those covered the period 2003 to 2009.
As of September 2013, the government had paid P2.9 billion in outstanding pension arrears to living veterans, bringing the total payment to P6.9 billion.
But Binay said it was urgent that the government find funds for the unpaid benefits of veterans who died before the government started paying the pension in 2010, especially to their surviving spouses aged 80 and above.
The veterans and wives of dead veterans now receive P5,000 monthly in pension and P1,000 to P1,700 in disability benefit if the veteran has reached the age of 70 or was injured in the line of duty.