Senate approves bill increasing veterans’ monthly pension to P20,000

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THE Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading the bill increasing the old-age monthly pension of Filipino war veterans from P5,000 to P20,000.

Senate Bill No. 1766 was approved with 20 affirmative votes, no negative vote, and zero abstention. It was authored and sponsored by Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II, chair of the Senate committee on national defense and security.

The proposed measures covers more than 6,000 living senior veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War who are not receiving pensions from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The last time senior veterans were given a pension was in 1994. The pension was only P1,000 at the time.

“Soldiers, unlike ordinary mortals, for a great part of the prime of their lives, lived in battlefields, away from their loved ones where, as a World War II veteran writes, they ‘learn the ache of loneliness, the ache of exhaustion, the kinship of misery.’ For our senior veterans, this stoicism is carried to this day as they find themselves in another forlorn arena, battling old age and debilitating ailments as well as financial difficulties,” Mr. Honasan said in a statement.

The pension will not be transferable to any member of the senior veteran’s family or dependents. In the event of death of the senior veteran, the pension of the surviving spouse shall remain at P5,000.

The initial implementation, which would require a total budget of P1.18 billion, will be charged against the current year’s budget of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) while the required budget for the succeeding years will be already included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA), Mr. Honasan said. — Camille A. Aguinaldo