A BETTER pension system for World War II veterans is needed, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Monday as he recognized them during the celebration of the 81st Araw ng Kagitingan.
“What we’re looking at is how we could improve the system for the distribution of the veterans’ pension,” he told reporters in Filipino on the sidelines of a commemoration event in Bataan when asked whether he would push for a pension hike for veterans.
“If we don’t fix it, it won’t last long,” he added.
After fixing the distribution system, the government will then look into what else it can provide for World War II veterans, Mr. Marcos said, noting that it was only a few years ago “when they were recognized, and they received their backpay.”
He said retiring earlier than the retirement age is among the issues that need to be addressed in the pension system.
Among the 500,000 fighters who survived the war, only around 1,000 are still alive, according to the president. “That’s why we need to help and take care of them because they were the ones who gifted us our freedom.”
In his speech at the commemoration event, Mr. Marcos said the heroism displayed by World War II heroes is still needed in these times although it does not necessarily mean involvement in wars.
“It is today that the spirit of heroism is once again asked of us by our country,” he said. “Perhaps not in the grand acts displayed on the field of battle, but in the everyday challenges that we must face to defend ourselves, to defend our people, to defend our country.”
Mr. Marcos recognized the different meanings of heroism among Filipinos today, citing people “who toil and sacrifice to feed their families, help their communities, and serve their country.”
“We celebrate all the individual acts of valor and of sacrifice. We celebrate the Filipino spirit,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza