Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Bong Go welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law a measure seeking to increase the monthly old age pension of the country’s war veterans.
“Sa wakas nadagdagan na rin po ang pension ng ating mga senior citizens na beterano matapos pirmahan ni Pangulong Duterte ang batas na magtataas sa kanilang monthly pension sa P20,000 kada buwan mula sa dating P5,000 lamang,” Go said.
“From P5,000, veterans will now have a pension of P20,000 per month.”
“Nagpapakita po lamang ito ng malasakit ni Pangulong Duterte sa ating mga beterano na itinaya ang kanilang buhay sa pagtatanggol at paglilingkod sa ating bayan,” the former Palace official added.
The former top presidential aide stressed that an increase in the old age pension of veterans would not be merely a token of financial assistance but, more importantly, a recognition of the extraordinary service that veterans have rendered for the country.
“Hindi lang ito simpleng dagdag benepisyo. Higit sa lahat, ito ay pagkilala sa matinding serbisyo at sakripisyo na kanilang ibinigay para sa ating bansa. Panahon na para sila naman ang pagsilbihan ng bayan,” said Go, who is a seeking a Senate seat in the 2019 midterm elections.
Those eligible to receive the increased benefits under the measure are veterans of World War II.
Also entitled to receive the increased benefits are veterans of the Korean War and Vietnam War, provided that they are not currently receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
However, such benefit is limited only to living veterans and cannot be transferred to any family member or their dependents.
“Sa panahon po ngayon ay dapat lamang na itaas ang benepisyo ng ating mga beterano. Matagal na po nilang hinihintay ito. Sa mga natitirang panahon sa kanilang buhay ay maramdaman nila ang ating pasasalamat sa kanilang nagawa ,” Go said.
Go noted that according to the Department of National Defense, the current P5,000 monthly old age pension the veterans are receiving is not enough to support their basic needs.
The measure was first filed in 2010 under the 15th Congress when there were around 18,000 surviving veterans.
However, through the years, the number of surviving veterans dropped to around 6,000 with an average of 300 veterans dying each month,
For the initial implementation of the new law, the required funding shall be charged against the current year’s available appropriations of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).
Thereafter, the necessary funding shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Natutuwa po ako na nabigyan ng ganitong benepisyo ang ating mga beterano dahil kalinya ito ng aking legislative agenda na madagdagan ang suporta ng gobyerno sa ating mga senior citizens,” Go added.
As part of his legislative agenda to provide additional benefits for senior citizens, Go is proposing the creation of a National Senior Citizens Commission that will implement all laws and programs for senior citizens to promote their welfare.
“I will propose the creation of a National Senior Citizens Commission that will implement all laws and programs for senior citizens to promote their welfare.”
He also seeks to enact a measure that will provide free medicines to all senior citizens, among others.
In addition to improved benefits for senior citizens, Go’s legislative agenda includes programs on health, agriculture, anti-illegal drugs and criminality, housing, education, long-term sports development, anti-corruption, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, the creation of a Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, and the promotion of barangay welfare.