PILAR, BATAAN — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte promised that his administration will prioritize the entitlements of war veterans as he led the commemoration of the 75th Araw ng Kagitingan in Bataan.
“I assure our veterans [and] their families that we are prioritizing your entitlements,” Duterte said in his speech at the Mt. Samat National Shrine on Sunday, April 9.
The Chief Executive instructed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of National Defense (DND) to expedite the release of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) retirees’ pension credentials from 2008 to 2013 in the amount of PhP6, 421,000,000.
The government has settled the backlog in disability pensions and made the management of almost 200,000 pension accounts more efficient, according to the President.
In addition, veterans with conditions and their dependents can be assured of free healthcare at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center and 152 veterans-accredited hospitals, Duterte said, adding that he has instructed the said institutions to further improve their services and accessibility.
He likewise said the government has subsidized the education of more than 2,500 dependents of war veterans under the Iskolar ng Bayan program.
“These entitlements do not compare to the sacrifices that you have made. But we want you to know, our nation [and] our people are grateful to you for what you have done and we will do better,” he said.
“No matter what we do, we can never do enough to repay you. But I would like for you to know that your government is doing much, much more,” he added.
The President then urged the younger generation to recognize the sacrifices of war veterans and treat them with much respect and deep sense of gratitude.
“We must never forget that we owe them a deep debt of gratitude. Utang po natin sa kanila ang ating buhay,” he added.
Prior to the speech, the Chief Executive, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, and Charge d’ Affaires of the United States Michael Klecheski offered a wreath at the Dambana ng Kagitingan in honor of the fallen soldiers of the Second World War.