Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez hosted a special awarding ceremony for the remaining World War II veterans in the city to commemorate the 68th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary. Also in the photo are Tacloban First Lady Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, City Tourism-Officer in charge Malou Tabao, and City Administrator Atty. Tecson John S. Lim. Photo courtesy of CIO

TACLOBAN CITY–Philippine Veterans Affairs Office administrator Leonardo G. Carolina on Friday announced that more benefits are now made available for the World War II veterans in the country.

In a special event called “Sunset Ceremony” he attended for 24 living veterans in Tacloban led by city mayor Alfred Romualdez in connection to the 68th Leyte Gulf Landings anniversary , Carolina disclosed that his office has already fast tracked the delivery of more services to the veterans from hospitalization, upgrading of facilities at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, additional budget for reimbursement of hip replacements, burial expense which has increased from P10,000 to P20,000, and recently its online registration of veterans for their application processing which is now available in eight of 14 regions in the country.

“Hospitalization is the usual problem of our veterans, and we’ve already given attention on this,” Carolina said, adding he is also hopeful that the measure they have pushed in the lower and upper Congress to increase the present old-age and disability pension from P5,000 to P10,000 will be granted.

“The bill to increase the old-age pension is already approved in the lower Congress,” Carolina said.

Also highlighted by Carolina are their efforts in the congress and in the American government to include the surviving members of war veterans in the giving of pensions.

Said development is now gathering popular support, according to Carolina.

Compensation fund granted in the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 only covered a pension to living war veterans.

“These are some of the good news while we are making regular follow ups for the development from the US government to grant the spouses or the widows of their due benefits. And we are hopeful maihahabol ito for them,” Carolina said.

Carolina reiterated that US government should fulfill its promise of just and equal compensation to both dead and living Filipino veterans who were all fighting side by side with the US forces.

“We are fighting for this for the rights and the benefits of the remaining spouses of the veterans, and we hope the US government will act on this the soonest possible time considering that the rate of our veterans who die every month is about 300.”

Living veterans in the country are about 20,000, while the remaining members pensioners are about 240,000 mostly comprising veterans’ spouses and post-World War II veterans or ex-servicemen, Carolina added.