Solon seeks more benefits for Filipino veterans

In observance of the Philippine Veterans Week and the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Monday called for more benefits and assistance to Filipino veterans as a fitting tribute for their bravery and sacrifice during World War II.

“The least we can do is to provide what the government has promised them in honor of their service. It is my fervent call that all of us in the government service render attention and respond to the plight of our veterans,” Alejano said in his Araw ng Kagitingan message.

Alejano said the country’s war veterans have exemplified that Filipinos would not easily back down and surrender especially when it is already our freedom and sovereignty that are being threatened.

“In the face of oppression from greater powers, our armed forces stood its ground to fight for our freedom and sovereignty in spite of being undermanned, unprepared, and ill-equipped. This is the brand of heroism and valor that our fellow Filipinos have shown to the world,” Alejano said.

He also noted that this special day should be a reminder for Filipinos of their duty to serve and protect the country at all costs.

“Makita nawa natin sa ating mga sarili ang giting at tapang upang tumayo para sa ikabubuti ng ating bayan (May we find in ourselves the valor and courage to stand up for what is right for our nation’s sake),” he said.

Meanwhile, the House committee on appropriations has already approved House Bill 270, seeking to increase to PHP20,000 per month the Old-Age Pension of Veterans of World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, principal author of the bill, said the current PHP5,000 pension is clearly inadequate for senior veterans to meet the basic necessities for decent living.

Underarmed and meagerly supplied American and Filipino forces fighting in the Bataan frontlines were forced to surrender on April 9, 1942 after 93 days of resistance against the superior Japanese force equipped with then the latest war equipment.

Some 60,000 Filipino and 16,000 American troops were taken prisoners of war by the Japanese. They were made to walk some 112 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac under the scorching sun with no food and water for days in what is known the world over as the “Death March.” PNA