The government continues to find ways to improve the benefits for Filipino war veterans and their families, Malacañang on Sunday said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio 'Sonny' Coloma, Jr. reported that the Department of National Defense (DND) through the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in 2013 was able to pay total administrative disability (TAD) arrears amounting to P2.877-billions to 17,817 living World War II veterans covering the period of 1994 to 2002.
The amount was charged against the pension gratuity fund of the 2013 General Appropriations Act, which materialized through the authority given by President Benigno S. Aquino III last year.
“This has brought the total payment for TAD arrears to 6.93-billion pesos as of this date, which demonstrates the government’s resolve to deliver its commitment as mandated in Republic Act 7696,” Coloma told an interview over Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma added the PVAO also delivered pensions amounting to P10.225-billion benefiting 199,000 pensioners last year, many of whom have one or more pension accounts.
PVAO also extends to war veterans and their families old age disability, death pension, education, hospitalization, and burial assistance benefits.
Coloma also said that the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) was able to deliver medical services to 1,092 beneficiaries and their dependents whose hospitalization needs amounted to over P2-million last year.
This was on top of the P15-million the hospital had spent for specialized care for illnesses and other medical needs of war veterans. Reimbursements were also allowed for patients who underwent angioplasty, hemodialysis, cataract surgery, and purchased hearing aids and dentures.
Coloma said some beneficiaries were also given medicines, wheelchairs, walkers, and canes through an outreach program. At the same time, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was also checking with PVAO how it could deliver its services to the veterans.
The Palace official disclosed these details in time for the upcoming celebration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) on Wednesday, April 9, that would be led by President Aquino in Bataan.
“With this year’s theme “Balik Tanaw sa Sakripisyo ng Beterano: Gabay sa Landas ng Pagbabago”, the PVAO and DND aim to present our veterans as among the country’s national treasures and to revive the culture of heroism, which the Filipino race has been known for essentially because of our veterans’ valor and selfless sacrifices,” he said. (PCOO/PND)