A PORTION of the Philippines’ national budget for 2018 includes an allotment for the pension of centenarians and the full payment of the pension arrears for surviving spouses of deceased World War II veterans, Senator Loren B. Legarda said.

The allotment is to “show them our respect and gratitude for the service they have rendered for our country by providing them the compensation and recognition rightfully due them,” Ms. Legarda said in a statement.

The Centenarians Act (also known as the Republic Act 10868), which was first funded under the 2017 budget, has an allocation of P189.5 million for a one-time cash grant of P100,000 each to 1,895 senior citizens aged 100 years and over.

Part of the said budget package is the P1.647 billion allotted for the full payment of total administrative disability (TAD) arrears for the surviving spouses of World War II veterans.

Some P30 million has also been allocated for the construction of a veterans’ hospital in Mindanao.

The funding allocation was supported by Magdalo Party-list representative and vice chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security Gary C. Alejano.

“There are proposals, including from the Magdalo, to increase the pension of the veterans as they do not receive salaries nor pensions such as those received by retirees from the armed forces,” he said in an interview.

What veterans receive, according to Mr. Alejano, are only old age pension and burial assistance.

“What they need in their advanced age is medical assistance, for maintenance,” he said, adding that veterans are not capable of covering their medical needs.

Despite the planned construction of another veterans’ hospital in Mindanao, Mr. Alejano said that we need “more” veterans hospitals all over the country.

“We need to construct [veterans] hospitals in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” Mr. Alejano said. — Arjay L. Balinbin