Senate rushing increased pensions for Pinoy war veterans
In the event of death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall remain at P5,000.

Senate rushing increased pensions for Pinoy war veterans

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 8, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate is hurrying the passage of a measure increasing to P20,000 the monthly old-age pensions of veterans of World War II and of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the committee on national defense and security, recently sponsored in plenary Senate Bill 1766, seeking to increase the present P5,000 monthly old-age pension of the veterans who are not receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

“Many of them have already gone silently, unheralded. In recent years, our veterans have been passing away in numbers greater than most of us know. It is incumbent, therefore, upon us, the beneficiaries of their sacrifices, to help our senior veterans in their final march by making their journey more pleasant, knowing that we owe them a debt we can never fully repay,” Honasan said.

“Our shared effort and support for the enactment of this bill into law is the least we can do to pay tribute to our old soldiers who know only too well that they are drawing close to the end of the day when the final taps will sound and they, too, will fade away,” he said.

The increase, however, will only be limited to eligible living senior veterans and not transferable to any family members or dependents.

In the event of death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall remain at P5,000.

Funding for the initial implementation would be sourced from existing budget of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) while its continuing implementation will be already included in the yearly national budget.

Honasan noted the last increase given by Congress was back in 1994, when the monthly veterans’ pension was only P1,000 under Republic Act 6948.

He said 24 years after the enactment of RA 6948 which amended RA 7696, the P5,000 annuity has undoubtedly become grossly inadequate to support the needs of the aging veterans.

Records from PVAO showed that as of June 2018, there are only 6,218 living senior veterans.

“Conservatively projecting for the next two years, the number will be 4,933 in 2019 and 3,851 in 2020,” Honasan said.

Funding requirement for the new rate of P20,000 is estimated at P1.83 billion for 2019 and P924.24 million in 2020, further decreasing annually due to the diminishing number of senior veterans, he said.

By 2020, compared to the number of senior veterans in 2017, which was 7,220, the number shall have been more than halved, Honasan said.

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