Recognition of Filipino World War II veterans always part of her advocacy, PGMA asserts
Tacloban City (October 20) -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that the welfare of the Filipino veterans has always been part of her advocacies since she became President in 2001.
"Part of my agenda since I became President in 2001, is the recognition of the military services of the Filipinoo World War II veterans," President Arroyo disclosed in a one on one interview with Marvin Tenecio Modelo, manager of the Bombo Radyo Tacloban, during the regional media interview in connection with the 65th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings on October 20 at the MacArthur Shrine National Park at Palo, Leyte.
The President has always pushed this cause every time she is the States, for the benefit of the Filipino veterans.
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed H.R.1 or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which included a Congressional Initiative that finally restored recognition of military service of Filipino World War II veterans.
The benefits provided the veterans include a total of $198 million appropriation established for the purpose. Eligible veterans with US citizenship will receive $15,000 while eligible non-US citizens will receive $9,000. The additional benefits will not affect other benefits that the veteran is already receiving. Claims will continue to be accepted until February 16, 2010.
President Arroyo added that as of June 2009, about 34,140 claims were received, of which, 3,621 has been granted; about 2,636 to Filipino veterans while 985 to US citizens. Of the total application for claims, 1,250 unsubstantial claims were denied while 29,269 claims are still pending.
The President informed that according to PVAO, the delays maybe attributed to the process of verification of claims. It appears that there are only an estimated number of 18,000 surviving veterans, 12,000 in the Philippines and 6,000 in the United States.
In Eastern Visayas, there are 967 surviving veterans, about 767 in Leyte and 200 in Samar provinces. Many of the veterans have received their benefits according to their own personal testimonies. However, PVAO is coordinating with the US Veterans Affairs Office on the exact number of veterans in the Region who have received their lump-sum benefits. (PIA 8) [top]