President Aquino leads commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan in Bataan
(PILAR, Bataan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday renewed the government’s commitment to promote the welfare of World War II veterans and their families.
In his message during the commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan in Pilar, Bataan, the President said the heroism and sacrifices of war veterans have given true meaning to Filipino nationalism, thus, the government should pay its debt of gratitude to the Filipino soldiers who fought during the second World War.
“Kaya nga po, lumipas man ang maraming taon, tuloy pa rin ang pagkilala ng estado sa inyong pakikiambag. Ang hangad natin: Sapat na pagkalinga sa mga beterano at sa inyong mga pamilya, upang tumbasan ang malasakit na ipinamalas ninyo noon,” President Aquino said.
He noted that one of the major thrusts of the government is to rid its database of bogus pensioners so that legitimate claimants could enjoy their benefits.
With the newly launched Pensioner’s Revalidation Program, the government could ensure that legitimate pensioners and their beneficiaries get benefits from the government, he said.
Starting this year, he said, the government will cease extending benefits to 22,534 illegitimate accounts and will suspend 14,616 accounts, so it could provide legitimate pensioners remittances amounting to P396.61 million.
He further said that last March, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) extended services to about 133,784 legitimate veterans and their spouses.
“Tinitiyak nating sa mga karapat-dapat lamang mapupunta ang bawat pisong inilalaan natin mula sa kaban ng bayan,” the President said.
The government is also extending appropriate healthcare services to veterans through the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) and its branches nationwide, he said, noting that last year, medical care extended to 1,092 war veterans amounted to P17 million.
The VMMC has also expanded its services to veterans to include cataract operation, coronary angiogram, and cardiac bypass, the President said.
The government is likewise prioritizing the educational benefit given to the war veterans’ dependents, he said, adding that in 2013, some 2,059 students were assisted by PVAO.
There is a yearly financial assistance of P36,000 for each qualified dependent of veterans, he said.
Among those who joined the President during Wednesday’s event were US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
The theme of this year’s commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan was “Balik-Tanaw sa Sakripisyo ng Beterano, Gabay sa Landas ng Pagbabago.” PND (as)
President Aquino commends Marines who guarded Ayungin Shoal
(PILAR, Bataan) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday praised the members of the Philippine Marines who guarded the country’s territorial boundaries at the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea in the past five months.
The sacrifices of the nine Marines, led by 1st Lieutenant Mike Pelotera, are exemplary, the President said in his message during the 72nd Commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan in Bataan.
The Marines stayed on board the BRP Sierra Madre, the government’s naval outpost in the shoal, for almost five months, watching the sea and without communicating with their respective families, he said.
There were times when the delivery of their supplies and equipment were blocked by the Chinese Coast Guard, he added.
“Araw-gabi, sakay ng nakatirik na BRP Sierra Madre, ay naka-angkla lamang ang kanilang dedikasyon sa pagtutok at pagbabantay ng ating teritoryo,” the President said.
“Kaya naman po, kasama ng ating mga beterano, kabilang din ang mga kawal na tulad nila sa mga kinikilala natin ngayon. Saludo po ang sambayanang Pilipino sa inyo.”
He said this is why his administration is committed to equipping the Filipino soldiers with necessary tools and know-how for them to perform their duties well.
The chief executive noted that under the AFP Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program, the national government allocated more than P36 billion and has completed 38 projects since July 2010.
This includes the acquisition of modern vehicles and equipment that will strengthen the armed forces, he said.
“Sa ganito man lang pong paraan, ay mapagaan natin ang mga hindi-birong tungkulin na kanilang tinutupad upang paglingkuran ang ating bansa.”
The President also mentioned in his message that countries must learn from the lessons of World War II.
He said nations must learn how to respect other nations, build mutual trust and work for their common good.
“Sa paraan nga pong ito, masisiguro nating hindi na mauulit pa ang madilim na kabanatang iyon ng ating kasaysayan,” he said. PND (as)