Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Senator Richard Gordon yesterday questioned the efforts of the Department of Foreign Affairs in pursuing the claims for the pension and benefits of Filipino war veterans specially those who are staying in the country.

Gordon discussed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo policies that the DFA should come up with for the protection and welfare of the veterans. He also asked Romulo to look into the Cunningham bill and other similar bills in the US that aims to restore the eligibility basis for recognition and benefits of Filipino veterans who fought in World War II. Among the benefits due the veterans are old age pension, disability pension, clothing allowance, and dependency and indemnity compensation.

“Our government should take a stand, make noise, and assert our history. We will not beg but we will push. You should push for one issue at a time,” Gordon exclaimed. He emphasized that these veterans “put their lives on the forefront of each battle to defend our country’s liberty and freedom, it is but just and fair that we accord them the privileges that they deserve.”

Senator Gordon deplored the seemingly lack of actions from the DFA in pushing for the protection and welfare of the old soldiers. “The Filipino war veterans are getting old and many of them are dying as we speak. I don’t see any strong efforts on the part of our government to try and push for what is due our veterans,” Gordon said. He said he cannot understand why the Filipinos, who fought side by side with the American soldiers, cannot get the same benefits and opportunities as the other soldiers at that time who also fought with the Americans.

“Only the Filipino soldiers stood by the Americans and never left their side during World War II, The Korean War, and War in Vietnam,” said Gordon.

Veterans Freedom Party Secretary General Rodrigo Gutang sought Gordon’s assistance in bringing the veterans’ issues to the legislature as he disclosed more reports on the delayed pension and complaints of some who still haven't received the full benefits they were promised.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Jesus Terry Adevoso, Presidential Assistant for Veteran Affairs, vowed to extend full support to the moves aimed at empowering the Filipino veterans. He also lauded Gordon for leading the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the World War II with a year-long series of events nationwide, saying that this is a perfect venue to be reminded of the valor of the Filipino soldiers and for the veterans to express their concerns.

Gordon has earlier filed Senate Resolution #208 which calls for an investigation on the government’s efforts to provide the pension and benefits for the World War II veterans. The Resolution also seeks to explore ways and means to grant the said remuneration. According to Gordon, pension claims of veterans have been estimated at P23 billion in arrearages as of 2003.


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