Wish list of war vets remains long, unfulfilled
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The list of wishes of war veterans remains long and still unfulfilled, data from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) showed.
PVAO had requested an initial P27 million subsidy for the annual Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) coverage of 12,297 World War II veterans and 53,284 living spouses to augment the subsidies of P1,200 daily for hospitalization and special medical procedures.
The Department of Budget and Management and Department of Health are studying subsidizing the amount through President Aquino’s Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (universal healthcare) program.
The increase of the P5,000 monthly old age pension has not come. Four bills in Congress have proposed P10,000.
In a statement, PVAO said it requested priority for older veterans of World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, finding it suitable to give them P20,000. Most of them are now in their 90s.
There are pension arrears that have accrued due to delayed claims. Five bills are seeking alternative sources of funds, like the use of PVAO properties.
PVAO said the repeal of the total administrative disability (TAD) pension had been proposed through two bills because no funds had been appropriated for this.
“For living World War II veterans, there are no more [TAD] arrears since these had been fully settled as early as 2013,” it said.
In 2013, President Aquino authorized TAD payments of P2.877 billion to 17,817 World War II veterans from 1994 to 2002. This brought the payment of TAD arrears to P6.93 billion.
Unpaid TAD obligations to deceased veterans, spouses and post-World War II veterans total P15.9 billion.
Estrella Santos, national president of the Veterans Freedom Party (VFP), said many surviving war veterans have yet to receive their full benefits.
She said some relatives of deceased veterans have complained to VFP that they have yet to receive burial assistance from the government.
PVAO said the war veterans also wanted the government to increase funeral, death, living assistance and educational benefits of up to P150,000 for widows and heirs of soldiers killed in action. Tonette Orejas with a report from Greg Refraccion, Inquirer Central Luzon
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