Filipino World War II veterans to get $192M moreBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
This year, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has allocated $192 million (more than P8 billion)—or about $16 million per month—in disability compensation for approximately 15,000 beneficiaries, more than half of them Filipino war veterans or members of their families, the US Embassy in Manila has said.
In a report posted on its website, the embassy said the funds were “in addition to the one-time lump-sum payments made to Filipino World War II veterans and their survivors as part of the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) Program.”
Since 2009, 18,350 Filipino war veterans or their survivors “have received a total of $221 million in one-time FVEC payments. This exceeds the 18,000 veterans estimated prior to the FVEC benefits becoming law,” it said.
Last year, benefits and services provided by the VA office in Manila included the following: Compensation and pension payments, $186.56 million; FVEC, $15.07 million; medical services, $10.7 million, and education and vocational programs, $2.12 million.
The VA noted its “sizeable economic impact on the Philippines and a significant positive impact on the thousands of veterans and beneficiaries it serves in the Philippines.”
The agency’s Manila regional office is the “only VA office located outside the Unites States or its territories.”
“The VA has had a presence in the Philippines since 1922, marking its 90th anniversary in the country this year,” it said.
In 2011, VA Manila “relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility on the US Embassy grounds, providing a modern, more accessible VA for veterans needing services,” it added.
Last year, VA Manila’s outpatient clinic “accomplished over 30,000 patient visits and provided world-class health care to thousands of veterans.”
Since 2003, the agency has provided $6.3 million in equipment grants to the country’s only veterans hospital, the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City. The equipment included ventilators, dialysis machines, CT scans, gamma X-rays, 2D echocardiogram and MRI machines, as well as an eye center.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. has said VA Manila is a “testament to the strong ties and still growing partnership between the US and the Philippines.”
Earlier, the envoy cited the “unparalleled service and sacrifice” of both American and Philippine war veterans.
Speaking at Veterans Day rites at the American Cemetery in Taguig City, Thomas said, “We owe our service members and veterans a debt of gratitude.”