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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders PVAO to set up temporary processing centers for speedy processing of Filvets' benefits

Manila (24 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday directed the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to put up temporary processing centers in the provinces as a way to speed up the dispensation of the lump-sum benefits for Filipino World War veterans granted by the United States government.

The President issued the directive to spare the veterans who have served the country the cost of going to Metro Manila to have their claims processed.

To be called as PVAO Fast Track Centers, President Arroyo said the processing centers will be put temporarily in the provinces with the large number of World War II veterans.

"The roster of surviving World War II veterans now in PVAO and the updated database of government agencies that have records of living veterans will be the basis for where the PVAO FTCs shall be located," the President said during the celebration held at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang on the passage of the US law granting more benefits to WW II veterans.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was passed by the US Congress on Feb. 14 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 17 as part of the US government stimulus package, grants a one-time lump-sum payment of $15,000 for each US-based Filipino WWII veteran and $ 9,000 for those living in the Philippines.

The Chief Executive also instructed the PVAO staffers, who will be assigned to the temporary processing centers, to coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the local government leaders in their areas of assignment to fast track the setting up of the centers.

"The dispersal of PVAO staffers to carry out outreach programs in the provinces will also help them develop a keener understanding of the problems faced by our war veterans," she said.

The President said the PVAO staffers should also need to communicate in simple and easy to understand language the entire processing exercise.

"In their old age and the winter of their lives, the veterans need more than ever, the tender and caring hands of government," the Chief Executive said as she assured the Filipino veterans that her administration will continue working with the US government in ensuring that benefits and recognition are given to them.

Aside from US President Barack Obama, the President also thanked the US senators and congressmen who "have been staunch supporters of Filipino veterans all these years."

She also underscored the need to prioritize the welfare of the poorest people as "we are looking at ways to help develop economies."

"We observed that the welfare of the poorest people and the poorest economies are not yet a priority as the world searches for solution to the global crisis and we urged that it must be made a priority in moving forward," she added.

President Arroyo said the inclusion in the stimulus bill of World War veterans is an example of "what we have been advocating for --that is in looking for solutions to the crisis, we must not neglect the hardship of those most hurt by the global downturn, including our Filipino veterans." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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