May 19, 2024

The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) said the number of World War II veterans in the Cordillera Administrative Region continues to dwindle, with only 45 remaining.
In a press conference last April 19, PVAO Baguio head Grace Labarinto said 14 of the living veterans are in Abra, 13 in Baguio City, six in Benguet, five in Kalinga, four in Ifugao, and three in the Mountain Province.
The oldest veteran is 103 years old, while the ages of the others range from 98 to 100.
“Due to old age, they can no longer come for their annual reporting so we have to go and see them or find out their condition when they do not show up,” she said.
Online reporting or through reporting via phone has become an acceptable means of reporting, Labarinto added.
Post-war veteran and president of the Second Baguio District Veterans Associations, 2Lt. Marcial Guinatang, said they were grateful for President Rodrigo Duterte’s help in raising the government benefits they receive.
“Of the incumbent officials, it is to President Rodrigo Duterte that we are thankful because he saw our importance as veterans,” Guinatang said.
He said his benefits increased by as much as P10,000 as a result of the President’s order to increase the salaries of men in uniform and the benefits of retirees.
“Naramdaman namin ito lalo at hindi bumababa sa P7,000 ang gastos ko para sa gamot ko pa lang. Matagal na naming hinihingi na maitaas sana ang old-age pension na ngayon ay P1,700 kasi kulang na kulang ‘yun para sa pambili ng gamot,” he said.
Guinatang said many of his colleagues are already having difficulty moving around and also need financial assistance for their medical needs.
“Dalangin namin sa Diyos na sana may makakita ng sitwasyon ng mga veterans na ang iba ay nagbuwis ng buhay, naputulan ng paa, mga kamay, nasugatan sa labanan at ngayon ay sinasabi ng walang pakinabang sa bayan,” he said.
He said with the elections nearing, their group and their families are talking among themselves about whom to support in the elections. – PNA