President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the early release of the P6-billion retirement pensions for veterans on Sunday as the country commemorates the 75th Day of Valor.
The directive covers the fiscal years 2008 to 2013, with pensions amounting to P6.421 billion.
Duterte made the announcement at the end of his speech for the 75th Day of Valor commemoration rites held at the Mt. Samat National Shrine in Bataan, where the infamous 140-kilometer Death March started.
“I am directing the Department of Budget and Management 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 P6,421,000,” he said.
The news was met by cheers from the audience, which included veterans, their widows, and families.
“Mabuhay ang beterano! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” he added, as the audience cheered.
He saluted the veterans in the audience, saying: “Saludo ako sa inyo, sir.”
Then, before stepping away from the podium, he added: “Sana may giyera rin para ma-hero kami.”
Better life for war veterans
In his speech, the President also assured the veterans and their families that the government is prioritizing their entitlements, including healthcare and education.
“We have settled the backlog in the disability pension, and we have made the management of almost 2,000 pension accounts more efficient,” he said.
He noted that veterans and their dependents are entitled to free services at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and 152 other veterans-accredited hospitals, which he instructed “to further impose their services and accessibility.”
More than 2,500 dependents of the veterans are also sent to school under the government’s Iskolar ng Bayan program, he added.
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