By Genalyn D. Kabiling
Filipino World War II veterans will soon receive their much deserved pension left unpaid during the past two administrations.
President Duterte has authorized the swift release of P6.421 billion worth of pension benefits for war veterans and other military retirees, saying they must no longer suffer in their twilight years.
The President promised to provide a better life for the war veterans and their families as he paid tribute to the war heroes during the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan at Mt. Samat national shrine in Bataan.
“I am directing the Department of Budget and Management, DBM, and the Department of National Defense to expedite the early release of the AFP’s retirees pension credentials for fiscal years 2008 to 2013 in the amount of P6.421 billion,” the President said in his remarks.
“No matter what we do, we can never do enough to repay you. But I would like for you to know that your government is doing much, much more,” he said.
“Our surviving veterans have suffered much. They should not suffer more in the twilight of their years. They deserve a better life,” he said.
The President’s last-minute announcement drew the loudest applause from the war veterans and their families as well as widows of soldiers attending the Bataan Day ceremony.
The valor day ceremony was also attended by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, and US chargé d’affaires Michael S. Klecheski.
Araw ng Kagitingan, a national holiday, marks the fall of Bataan to Japanese forces during World War II on April 9, 1942 as well as commemorates the bravery of Filipino and American soldiers against the invaders.