NO INCREASE IN PENSION FOR WWII VETS
GIVEN the fast depleting number of World War II veterans, Second District Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil expressed hope that his bill seeking to increase the old age pension of veterans, from the current P5,000 a month to P20,000 a month, is approved this year and included in the General Appropriations Act next year.
Bataoil, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, however, laments that his proposal appears to be receiving a cold shoulder from the committee on appropriations headed by Davao Congressman Carlo Nograles.
The congressman told the KBP Forum that there are now only less than 8,000 veterans alive whose average age is 95 years old and sooner or later would soon pass from this world.
Citing their heroism, they who did not hesitate to risk their lives so the Filipinos of this generation will be free, he said, they must be allowed to enjoy an increased pension in their few remaining years before they all pass on.
Their ranks are continuously thinning at the rate of 300 a month, said Bataoil.
“Despite our efforts, together with my colleagues in the committee, the bill is not being given a chance to pass in the committee on appropriations,” Bataoil intoned.
He said the committee’s last recourse is to seek the support of President Rodrigo Duterte who has a heart for the veterans and the retirees in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
To date, he rates the bill only has a 75 percent chance of passing and called on friends and relatives of veterans to help him persuade their representatives to pass this very important measure very soon.
Bataoil revealed that he sponsored a bill seeking the construction and establishment of Philippine Veteran Memorial Medical Centers in Northern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
He noted that only the veterans in Metro Manila have easy access to the Philippine Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City leaving out the veterans in other regions.
Meanwhile, he praised PVAO and the VMMC for entering Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) with hospitals in the provinces that will serve the medical needs of veterans with the expenses to be reimbursed by them. (Leonardo Micua)
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