"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Friday, February 08, 2008

War veterans may receive pension from both US, RP

Filipino soldiers who fought alongside their American allies during World War II will soon be allowed to receive pension and other benefits from both the Philippine and United States governments.

This is embodied in Senate Bill 142, entitled “An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and Their Dependents, which the Senate approved on third and final reading.

The bill, authored by Senator Richard Gordon, will benefit the estimated 16,000 surviving war veterans or their surviving spouses residing in the Philippines. It will amend the law, which disallows the grant of pension by the Philippine government to the veterans once a similar benefit is given by the US.

Under the bill, the maximum amount of monthly pension of P5,000 from the Philippine government shall be maintained.

The approval of the bill came on the heels of renewed assurance by Washington that the US Congress will approve the long-overdue Filipino Veterans Equity Act. The US legislative measure seeks to extend benefits to Filipino war veterans at par with what their American counterparts are getting.

The government’s special envoy on veteran affairs, retired Army Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, said the Veterans Equity Act—which will entitle veterans living in the Philippines some $200 to $375 monthly pension—will be endorsed in Capitol Hills soon.

“Finally, our World War II veterans are one step closer to getting the recognition they deserve and they can look forward to living the remainder of their years with a greater sense of dignity,” Gordon said.

“Perhaps there is nothing more painful than the sight of one who has offered his life to defend his country, wasted by decades of neglect. Senate Bill 142 will ensure that our World War II veterans finally receive what is due them—though sadly, this will not restore what they sacrificed in our country’s fight for freedom,” Gordon said.

Recently, Gordon met with US Senators Daniel Inouye and Patrick Leahy and Reps. Bob Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, all advocates of the equity bill in the US Congress and they assured Gordon that the bill would be passed.

During the meeting, Gordon told the American legislators that it is time for the US to act decisively on this issue as this is not merely an issue of cost and money, but more of an issue that delves into matters of honor and values among long-standing allies and friends.

According to Gordon, about 142,000 Filipinos fought in the battlefields during the last global war, 60,000 of whom suffered through the infamous Death March from Bataan to Tarlac, together with about 10,000 Americans.


War veterans may receive pension from both US, RP

By Fel V. Maragay


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