Trillanes urges gov’t to pay arrears of veterans benefits

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday called for the immediate passage of Senate Bill (SB) 166 or "An act providing for the payment of arrears in the veteran's pensions and benefits."

In a hearing conducted by the Senate committee on national defense and security, Trillanes said that RA 7696 was enacted in recognition of the relevant role Filipino war veterans and military retirees played in protecting the country.

"However, a number of them have died without enjoying the benefits due to lack of government funding because it was not specified under the law," Trillanes said.

Trillanes added that the government appropriated an amount of P170 million in 2010, and P2.9 billion in 2013, for the payment of the Total Administrative Disability pension of World War II veterans who are aged 80 and above. However, the scope of the said appropriations was not able to cover all the veterans, and the amount was not enough to cover the total government obligation.

Under SB 166, the said arrears shall be paid through the proceeds from the development, lease, or other use of government properties.

Under this set-up, the national government will be able to accomplish its constitutional mandate of providing assistance to said beneficiaries without affecting the national budget.

Trillanes said that there are still many things that can be done to uplift the status of Philippine veterans; majority of whom are now elderly, sick, underprivileged, disabled, and poor.

"They receive very small pensions, and little benefits and medical assistance. I believe they deserve to be respected and appreciated for what they have done in honor of our country. This recognition should be equated with a responsive and a continuing set of programs and projects for the care, benefits and welfare of our veterans," Trillanes said.

Included in the hearing conducted by the committee on national defense and security are other bills that seek additional benefits for veterans and military retirees. These include: SB 1169 and SB 2127, which aim to increase the burial assistance for veterans; and SB 638, which seeks to increase the monthly pension and medical assistance received by Filipino World War Veterans. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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