War vets get pension increase

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OLD age is fast decreasing the ranks of surviving veterans today, with only about 128, according to the Philippine Veterans Affairs office early this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By next year, all Filipino senior veterans will receive a 300 percent increase in the monthly old-age pension.

The Senate has approved Senate Bill 1766 or an act increasing the monthly old-age pension of senior veterans, as authored and sponsored by Senator Gregorio Honasan.

The House of Representatives adopted SB 1766 — dispensing the need for a bicameral conference committee. The bill is now awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Explained the chair of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, “The House, even if they first started this (piece of legislation), decided to adopt the amendments of the Senate, practically adopting the Senate version.”

Honasan, whose term of office is set to expire in June 2019, said, “Recognizing the urgency of the said measure, we believe that the President will sign it into law. I am very happy because I’ll be riding off into the sunset next year.”

A total of P887.94 million, the senator added, will be spent by government in granting an additional P15,000 to the current P5,000 monthly old-age pension as provided for under the existing RA 7696, Honasan said.

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 P20,000 monthly pension.

It will not, however, be transferable to any member of the family or dependents. Upon the death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall still remain at P5,000 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.

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