Senate approves Rep. Roman’s bill for senior war veterans’ pension increase

ORANI, Bataan – The Philippine Senate’s version of Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine B. Roman’s House Bill has been passed on the third and final reading.

Congresswoman Roman’s bill (HB 270) sought to increase the monthly pension of Filipino war veterans by 300 percent — from P5,000 to P20,000. The Senate’s version was authored by Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan.

Last Monday, All 20 senators present on their regular session voted to approve Senate Bill No. 1766, or An Act Increasing the Monthly Pension of Veterans — which will benefit around 6,000 veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War

Last March 14 of this year, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) shared in the victory of the senior veterans in its pursuit of a more sustainable monthly pension as the House Committee on Appropriations approved House Bill No. 270, which seeks to increase the Old Age Pension of the senior veterans from P5,000 to P20,000.

House Bill No. 270 or “An Act Increasing the Monthly Pension of Senior Veterans Thereby Amending R.A. 6948, As Amended” was introduced by Bataan Representative Geraldine B. Roman.

Rep. Roman’s bill recognizes that the current pension of P5,000, enacted almost 21 years ago, is clearly not enough to meet the basic necessities for daily living. The proposal to raise the Old Age Pension of our senior veterans is urgent because it proceeds from a very compelling reason: the steady decline in the number of our senior veterans due to their advanced age.

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare, chaired by Rep. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, had conducted hearings on, supported, and adopted HB No. 270. The members of the House Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, saw the urgency to pass the bill and came up with a consensus to expedite its final approval at the House of Representatives, which remaining session days will only be until March 23, 2018. They also recommended that a strong representation be made so that a similar version of the bill be adopted and passed in the Senate in time for the celebration of “Araw ng Kagitingan.”

Rep. Nograles stressed a provision in HB No. 270 that the increase in the Old Age Pension of veterans of World War II, and Korean and Vietnam veterans who are not receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall apply only to living senior veterans and shall not be transferable to any family member and/or dependent of the senior veterans.

As of January 2018, there are only about 6,163 living senior veterans. The proposed increase in the Old Age Pension to P20,000 will require a funding of P1.5 billion in FY 2019. This will greatly diminish annually with a projected number of about 3,851 living senior veterans or the equivalent of P924.240 million by 2020.

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