By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) is backing a proposal to lower the age qualification for pension applicants from 65 to 60 years old.
The proposal was aired by military veterans groups during a forum at Camp Lapu Lapu here last Tuesday.
More than 150 veterans attended the forum.
Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP7) Vice Oresident Rodulfo Bumaat said that because the life expectancy of Filipinos is 68, the age qualification for pensioners must be 60 so they can enjoy the benefits due them longer.
“Hopefully they will reduce to 60 years for the old-age pension because 65 is too old,” Bumaat said.
Cebu Armed Forces of the Philippines Retired Veterans Association (CAFPREVA) President Romeo Ambut said lowering the age requirement for pensioners will not be easy because the age qualification of 65 is mandated by Republic Act 6948, or the Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and their Dependents Act.
Ambut said they are going to suggest that every veterans organization in the country submit a position paper to PVAO on the age qualification issue.
The PVAO head for Central Visayas, Reggie Sabandal, backed the veterans’ cause, adding that as soon as she receives the necessary papers from the different veterans’ associations in the region, she will refer them to the PVAO administration.
Bumaat said the veterans groups are also asking for a 2.5-percent increase in the veterans’ monthly pension.
The forum also discussed queries from the veterans regarding assistance in availing of medical and hospitalization benefits.
Sabandal said veterans have to pay for hospitalization and medicines, after which they will be reimbursed by PVAO.