War veterans fete PGMA for securing their benefits

June 18, 2010 8:23 pm 

MANILA, June 18 – World War II veterans on Friday expressed their gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her advocacy in securing and ensuring the provision of their long-overdue benefits.

The President was guest of honor during the 50th anniversary of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) at the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas of the Folk Arts Theater in Pasay City this morning.

VFP president Col. (ret.) Emmanuel de Ocampo said the President worked hard for the passage of the Veterans’ Equity Bill in the United States and even advocated for the benefits of veterans even before she became head of state.

De Ocampo said it was also the President’s father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal, who encouraged him in the 1960s to go on and continue to fight for the rights of World War II veterans.

Albertino Macas, 88, VFP regional vice president for Region 10, thanked President Arroyo for the $ 9,000 he received from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund in June 2009.

Macas also thanked the Chief Executive for the P81,600 lump sum back pension for four years (Total Administrative Disability) which he received in May this year.

“I and my family would like to thank our beloved President, Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the benefits that were given to the veterans like me,” Macas said.

Torcuato Cirpo, 84, VFP vice president for Region 11, also thanked the President in behalf of other veterans for receiving the $ 9,000 from the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund in May 2009 and the P81,600 lump sum back pension for four years which he received last April.

“I and my family, and the veterans of Region 11 wholeheartedly appreciate the efforts done by our beloved President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the benefits that were given to the veterans,” he said.

Cirpo said he immediately gave his three children P5,000 each and a portion went to home improvement.

During the event, the President also launched the 50th anniversary commemorative stamp of the VFP and turned over P100,000 worth of medicines for the VFP clinic in Taguig City.

Assisting the President were Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral and Postmaster General Hector Villanueva.

“Ito ay simbolo ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtulong ng DOH for the veterans’ clinic in Taguig,” the President said.

Since 2001, the President has been asking the US government to provide equal benefits to Filipino war veterans resulting in the historic passage last year of the long–overdue 0 million compensation package for the old and frail Filipino veterans of World War II.

During the Araw ng Kagitingan rites in April 2007, the President also assured World War II veterans that government will be able to catch up with its arrears on pension payments as she instructed the release of P1.8 billion for the payment of pension arrears in 2008.

The President also signed Republic Act No. 9499 or the “Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008” allowing Filipino veterans to continue receiving their pensions and benefits from the Philippine government in addition to similar pensions and benefits to be provided by the US government. (PNA) LAP/OPS/rsm

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