Veterans’ monthly pension gets Senate nod

Veterans will get a 300 percent increase, from P5,000 to P20,000 on their pension after Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 1766 on Monday.

More than 6,000 living veterans from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War will benefit from it.

“The passage of this measure would be a fitting tribute and an act of gratitude to our World War II veterans, the Philippine Expeditionary Forces veterans of the Korean War and the Philippine Civic Action Group veterans of the Vietnam War who sacrificed much so that we, their descendants, may live in peace and freedom,” said Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II, principal author and sponsor of the bill.

Honasan is chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee.

“Soldiers, unlike ordinary mortals, for a great part of the prime of their lives, lived in battlefields, away from their loved ones where, as a World War II veteran writes, they ‘learn the ache of loneliness, the ache of exhaustion, the kinship of misery.’ For our senior veterans, this stoicism is carried to this day as they find themselves in another forlorn arena, battling old age and debilitating ailments as well as financial difficulties,” he added.

Entitled to the P15,000 increase in the monthly old-age pension are living senior veterans who have not been receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The financial assistance will not be transferable to any member of their family or dependents and in the event of death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall remain at P5,000.

The initial implementation, which would require a total budget of P1.18 billion, will be charged against the current year’s budget of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) while the required budget for the succeeding years will be already included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA), Honasan said.

The last increase given to senior veterans was in 1994, almost two and half decades ago when the monthly old-age pension of veterans was only P1,000.