Senator Jinggoy Estrada, taking up the cudgels for aging military veterans bearing the rising costs of medical and other pressing needs, prodded Congress on Monday to frontload passage of an awaited remedial law “proposing to increase by 350 percent to 488 percent their disability pension.”
In pressing for an upward adjustment in their pension fund, Estrada wondered, “Ano ang mararating ng pensyon na halagang P1,000 to P1,700?”
Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, added: “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. Ano mararating ng pensiyon na halagang P1,100 hanggang P1,700 sa panahon ngayon?”
The senator, in a news statement, vowed to pursue the approval of proposed Senate Bill No. 683, seeking to rationalize the disability pension of military veterans and their beneficiaries.
Noting current pension rates are “no longer realistic” and made negligible given the rising cost of daily expenses, Estrada affirmed “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.”
He pointed out that under the existing provisions of Republic Act 6948, also known as an Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents, “the pension rates for 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.
Under SB 683, Estrada proposed to raise the current base rate of P1,000 given to eligible veterans be increased to P4,500 monthly, while other prescribed rates be rationalized to provide a disability pension as much as P10,000 monthly, reminding, “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.” –Butch Fernandez/Business Mirror