PGMA orders inclusion of veteran families in emergency employment program
Manila (21 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the inclusion of family members of Filipino veterans, especially those veterans whose eligibilities for payment are still being determined, in government's emergency employment program.
US President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Feb. 17, 2009, authorizing the release of a one-time, lump-sum payment to eligible World War II (WWII) Philippine veterans. These payments are to be made through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from a $198 million appropriation established for this purpose. Applying for this benefit will not affect other existing veterans benefits.
President Arroyo gave the directive to Cabinet members present in the 65th Commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landing, including Presidential Adviser Gabby Claudio, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral, and Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.
The government's Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) is a nationwide effort intended to protect the country's most vulnerable sectors --- such as the poor, returning expatriates, workers in the export industry, and out-of-school youths -- by providing emergency employment and by funding and supervising livelihood projects.
She added that since she assumed office, she has been fighting for more veterans' benefits that would be given by the United States government.
In Leyte alone, there are 2,000 applicants for the US government's veterans' benefits program. (PIA) [top]