RELEASE DISABILITY BENEFITS,
INCREASE PENSION FOR VETERANS
Vice President Jejomar C. Binay urged the administration to immediately release P17 billion in disability benefits to more than 80,000 pensioners, including war veterans and the surviving spouses of deceased World War II veterans.
Binay also said government should immediately look for funding for the disability benefits that widowers of 16,237 veterans should get. The unpaid benefits for widowers total P2.7 billion.
“The administration has spent less on many projects from different departments and agencies. It can allocate funds for the veterans and wives of deceased veterans”, Binay said.
Binay also agreed that the P5,000 monthly benefit should be increased to P20,000 as proposed by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
At present, veterans and wives of deceased veterans receive P5,000 monthly pension and P1,000-P1,700 disability benefit if the veteran has reached the age of 70 or were injured in line of duty. The amount depends on the type of disability.
In Makati, veterans are covered by the city government’s services for senior citizens introduced during the Vice President’s term as mayor, which include subsidized medical and hospitalization care through the Yellow Card program, cash gifts, free groceries and medicine, among others.
Earlier, PVAO stressed the need to prioritize the welfare and well-being of the veterans and for Congress to upgrade the benefits of pensioners through a new law.
Under the present law, a veteran aged 70 years old is deemed totally disabled and should receive a P1, 700 monthly pension.
As of 2010, unpaid pension obligations reached P25 million as the law was not immediately implemented.
The 28,993 World War II veterans started receiving their pension in April 2010, covering the period of 2003 to 2009 and totaling P4.1 billion which came from the PVAO’s reform dividends.
As of September 2013, the government paid P2.9 billion in outstanding pension arrears to living veterans. This brought the total payment to P6.9 billion.
It is urgent that government sources funds for the unpaid benefits of veterans who died before the government started paying the pension in 2010, especially to surviving spouses aged 80 and above, said Binay./MP