Duterte assures veterans of benefits due them

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PILAR, Bataan — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday assured World War II veterans of getting full support from the government and that they would receive all benefits due them.

“Government will not be able to repay the sacrifices of our veterans but we assure you, we will ensure to give all the entitlements to veterans based on existing laws,” the President said in a written speech read by Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año during the celebration of the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan in Mount Samat here.

Duterte said a law has already been passed, which increases the monthly pension of surviving veterans from PHP5,000 to PHP20,000.

Republic Act 11164, “An Act Increasing the Monthly Old-Age Pension of Senior Veterans”, was signed by the President on Dec. 20, 2018.

“I also directed the release of PHP50 million to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center to support the medical requirements, including medicines, of veterans,” Duterte said in the statement, to the delight of veterans and guests present in the ceremony.

He also reminded the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office to keep track of all applications submitted for the Veterans Equity Compensation Act.

“I want all requests be processed,” the President said.

In the same statement, the Chief Executive said the government will forever remember the veterans, who fought foreign invaders to achieve freedom for the country.

Likewise, he pointed out that it is the duty of every Filipino to defend the country from any form of oppression and widespread poverty.

“We ask the youth to emulate our veterans and fight corruption and illegal drugs,” he added.

Meanwhile, Vice President Robredo, in an interview on the sideline of the event, said the country is celebrating the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan as a reminder of the bravery and love of country of the war veterans.

“Sila ang dahilan kung bakit tinatamasa natin ang kalayaan natin ngayon at nararapat lamang na kahit isang beses isang taon magbigay pugay tayo sa kanila (they are the reason why we are enjoying the freedom now and it is only appropriate even once a year to give tribute to them),” she said.

Robredo, together with Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda and United States Embassy Chief of Mission John Law, offered flowers at the colonnade of the War Memorial Shrine below the giant War Memorial Cross in Mt. Samat.

“I wish to express my deepest respect and condolences to everyone who endured sufferings during those fateful days. Please allow me to vow my head for the repose of those departed souls and bereaved families,” Haneda said.

He said that Japan will never again cause devastation of war.

Law also paid tribute to Filipino and American soldiers who fought and died in Mt. Samat and surrounding areas during World War II.

“In the name of the United States, let me offer our most sincere appreciation for the sacrifices and valor of veterans and our undying admiration to their devotion to duty and our gratitude for their legacy,” the American official said. -PNA

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