PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday ordered the release of P4.7 billion to pay for the unpaid benefits of World War II widows and to aid the retirees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The president issued the order during the national observance of the Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He said the fund is a small tribute to the gallantry of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for God and Country.
Pres. Duterte explained that P3.5 billion of the P4.7 million fund is for the payment of the total administrative liability tagged as arrears for widows and those who died during World War II (WWII) while the remaining P1.2 billion is financial aid for AFP retirees who are 80 years old and above.
The President said the amount is part of the 2016 appropriated budget which was withheld by the previous administration of Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
The president’s announcement was received with loud cheers and applause from the crowd, some of whom are retirees, veterans and families of deceased retirees and veterans.
More cheers came as President Duterte announced that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the utilization of the said fund was already signed by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Duterte said: “okay na ba yan!” adding “sir kulang pa daw” looking towards the direction where Secretary Diokno was seated.
Loreto B. Sangco, 90 years old, one of the three living veterans of WWII belonging to the Centro Post Caloocan, after the event said “umaasa kami na maibiibgay na ni Presidente Duterte Nakita namin na lahat ng ipinangako niya ginagawa niya. Baka sakali ngayon madagdagan na rin ang P5,000 na pension ko kasi marami akong gamot .”
Also, the President said that the amount of P250,000 sourced from the President’s Social Fund is available to the beneficiaries of battle casualties even as the President stated “God Forbid” and P20,000 for ready cash assistance.