Wednesday, December 2, 2015

House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare approves bill raising old-age pension of veterans to P10,000 monthly

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare has approved a proposal to increase the old age pension of Filipino military veterans to P10,000 per month from the present P5,000.

The committee chaired by Rep. Herminia B. Roman, also the author of the proposal embodied in House Bill 6230, approved the measure which will enable the veterans to augment their resources so they may live decently and with dignity.

House Bill 6230 seeks to amend Section 10 of Republic Act 6948, as amended, otherwise known as "An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits of Military Veterans and Their Dependents," as amended, so that a veteran, who is at least 65 years old, shall be paid an old-age pension of P10,000 monthly for life, unless he is actually receiving a similar pension for the same consideration from other government funds.

Roman said the current monthly P5,000 pension enacted almost 21 years ago, is clearly not enough to meet the basic necessities of veterans for a decent living.

"Our veterans have sacrificed so much for the county. They invested blood, sweat and tears and in return, it is only fitting that we repay their service by taking care of them in their old age. They have dedicated their lives in the service of the country. They should be able to live out the rest of their days comfortably without worrying about their basic needs," Roman said.

Sad to say, the lawmaker further said, that veterans face a new challenge which is the hardships of old age along with meager resources that they must stretch in order to survive.

Roman said the old age pension raise is also a way to show the nation's grateful appreciation of the veterans' bravery, service and sacrifice.

"We must recompense them in a manner more fitting to what they have given. By giving them due importance to what they have done in the past, we show citizens, especially the youth, what the nation values - the traits o heroism, love of country and patriotism," said Roman.

During the hearing, lawyer Rolando Villaflor, Chief of the Legal Affairs Division of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and representative of Defense Undersecretary and PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina said PVAO is in full support of the HB 6230.

"The proposal to raise the ld age pension of our veterans is not only urgent but it proceeds from a very compelling reason that it is based on justice, considering the steady decline in the number of our senior veterans due to advanced ages," said Villaflor.

Villaflor said the youngest veteran under this category is 84 years old while the oldest is aged105.

"As of June 2015, there are only about 12,730 senior veterans who stand to benefit from the proposed increase," said Villaflor.

He said the old age pension will require a funding of P1.9 billion in 2016, and will gradually diminish annually with a projected number of about 4,211 senior veterans in 2020 or the equivalent of P757.980 million.

Villaflor said that as to post-World War 11 veterans, there are 27,137 of them as of this November. The corresponding amount of increase in their old-age pension to P10,000 will require P1,628 billion. For 2016, the funding requirement for the old age pension raise will be P1,832,820,000 then P1.8 billion for 2017, P1.9 billion for 2018, P2 billion for 2019 and P2.1 billion for 2020 according to him.

Roman noted there is not too much budgetary requirement of the old-age pension increase for veterans, the problem, however, is to find its funding source. "If we approve this bill, we will file it again with the committee on appropriations," said Roman.
(House of Representatives)

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