Estrada seeks increase in veterans’ disability pension

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Jinggoy Estrada is seeking an increase in the disability pension of military veterans, saying the current rate they are receiving is not enough.

Estrada, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation, filed Senate Bill No. 683 to rationalize the disability pension of military veterans and their beneficiaries.

“Sa sobrang taas na ng mga gastusin sa ngayon, hindi na makabuluhan ang kakarampot nilang pensiyon na halos tatlong dekada na ang nakalipas nang huli itong nadagdagan,” Estrada said in a statement on Monday.

(Their pitiful pension is far from sufficient given today’s skyrocketing prices, and it’s been almost three decades since it was last raised.)

Estrada said that under the Republic Act No. 6948 or the Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents, veterans who were disabled due to sickness, disease, wounds, or injuries sustained in the line of duty are given a monthly disability pension that ranges from P1,000 to P1,700.

However, Estrada argued in his measure that the current base rate of P1,000 should be increased to P4,500 monthly, while the other prescribed rates are rationalized to provide a disability pension of as much as P10,000 monthly.

“It is the intention of this measure to support our veterans by increasing the disability pension to cover, among others, medical and hospitalization expenses, the economic and social ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increase in the prices of oil, food, and other consumer goods,” Estrada said.

“Mas magiging makabuluhan ang paggunita ng Araw ng mga Bayani kung binibigyan natin ng pagpapahalaga ang mga kabayanihan ng nabubuhay pang mga retiradong sundalo na nakipaglaban para sa kalayaan ng ating bansa,” he added.

(The celebration of National Heroes Day will be more meaningful if we give importance to the heroism of retired soldiers who are still alive today.) – Neil Arwin Mercado/Inquirer