The 300-percent increase in the monthly old-age pension of Filipino senior war veterans was transmitted to Malacañang last Nov. 26 and is just awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
In all likelihood, it will be implemented early next year, providing the more than 6,000 Filipino World War II, Korean and Vietnam war veterans a total of PHP20,000 monthly old-age pension, an increase of PHP15,000 in their previous PHP5,000 annuity.
In a press release Thursday, Senator Gregorio Honasan, principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1766, known as An Act Increasing the Monthly Old-Age Pension of Senior Veterans, said the government will spend a total of PHP887.94 million in granting the additional PHP15,000 increase to the current PHP5,000 monthly old-age pension as provided for under the existing Republic Act No. 7696, Honasan said.
Both Houses of Congress decided to do away with the bicameral conference after the House of Representatives moved to adopt the Senate version and concur with its amended provisions last November 13.
“The House (of Representatives), even if they first started this (piece of legislation), decided to adopt the amendments of the Senate, practically adopting the Senate version. It will lapse into law after 30 days (from Nov.26) if the President fails to act on it,” the chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security said.
“Recognizing the urgency of the said measure, we believe that the President will sign it into law. Tuwang tuwa din ako dahil (I’m also very happy because) I’ll be riding off into the sunset next year,” said Honasan, whose term of office expires in June 2019.
The measure will entitle the eligible living senior veterans of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War and those who have not been receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the PHP20,000 monthly old-age pension.
It will not, however, be transferable to any member of their family or dependents. In the event of death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall still remain at PHP5,000 a month.
“The challenge is to institutionalize this to the point that it’s almost engraved in stone, that whoever is the president, whoever sits in Congress, will make sure that our veterans will live forever in the memory of this nation,” Honasan said. (PNA)