Saturday, April 7, 2018

President fully supportive of veterans, DND chief says

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 7): President fully supportive of veterans, DND chief says

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday President Rodrigo R. Duterte has the welfare of World War II veterans at heart and will fully support them.

Lorenzana was guest of honor and speaker at the “Parangal sa mga Beterano” (Tribute to the Veterans) given by the Bataan provincial government at the Capitol compound here, as part of the observance of the 76th year of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor).

On the bill that seeks to increase the pension of veterans, he said, “Once Congress passes the bill, I know that President Duterte will immediately sign it. He has utmost care and concern for the veterans and soldiers.”

He noted the decrease in the value of the PHP5,000 monthly pension of veterans given in 1995 by then president Cory Aquino.

“We will increase it for the welfare of our veterans and I will fully support that,” Lorenzana said. “After visiting the Veterans Memorial Center in Quezon City and seeing its condition, the President released a big amount for the purchase of equipment for the hospital.”

He said he will confer with Health Secretary Francisco Duque on having veteran’s wards in district and provincial hospitals under the health department.

Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman announced that she has filed a bill in Congress that seeks to raise the monthly pension of World War II and Korean veterans from PHP5,000 to PHP20,000.

A counterpart bill was filed in the Senate by Senator Gregorio Honasan, she said, hoping that it would be passed soon, as “only few works need to be done”.

Meanwhile, Bataan Governor Albert Garcia lauded the veterans, some of them were in wheelchairs and limping.

Only a few original WWII veterans remain alive. Most of those who attended the occasion were spouses of the late veterans.

“They made the ultimate sacrifice for the independence that we are now enjoying. We are fortunate. Now, we do not need to die for war. We can now live to serve our nation because of the sacrifices of the veterans,” the governor said.

Garcia also announced the transformation of Mount Samat into a world-class shrine through the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority.

The provincial government paid tribute to WWII veterans through a parade of floats that depicted major events, among them the cruelty of war until Bataan fell on April 9, 1942 and the infamous Death March that followed.

The last two floats showed that despite the damage, Bataan rose from the ashes and is now on its way to attain the lowest poverty index in the country by year 2020.

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