The chairperson of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare expressed confidence Monday that the House leadership would shepherd the immediate plenary approval of a measure seeking to declare the Board of Trustees of the Veterans of World War II (BTVWWII) as a public office and the funds entrusted to it as public funds.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman urged Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to prioritize the passage of House Bill No. 7871 which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 3518 that created the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB).
“I am confident that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco will support the measure which will greatly benefit our WWII veterans and protect their interests,” she said in a text message.
Under Committee Report No. 562, the Roman panel endorsed the plenary approval of HB No. 7871, which substitutes HB No, 2603, principally authored by Antipolo City Rep. Resurreccion Acop.
“The objectives of the bill is to declare the BTVWWII a public office and the funds entrusted to it as public funds, and as such shall be subject to government audit, and to provide transparency and accountability in the utilization of all public funds held by the BTVWWII for World War II veterans,” Roman said.
She said the measure specifically seeks to amend Sections 22 and 23 of RA 3518, as amended, to declare the BTVWWII funds as public funds and subject to audit by the Commission on Audit (CoA) and declare the BTVWWII a public office, respectively.
Under RA 3518, which was enacted on June 18, 1963, the BTVWWII was entrusted with the administration of the 20 percent of the net profits of the PVB for disposition and shall be available for “grants-in-aid” to veterans, their widows, orphans, or compulsory heirs for educational, social, charitable, and rehabilitation purposes, and for such other purposes beneficial to the veterans.
Acop had earlier said that once the bill is enacted into law, all doubts as to the character of the BTVWWII and on the nature of the trust funds under the Board’s administration pursuant to RA 3518 will be erased.
“BTVWII will no longer have any excuse to disallow Commission on Audit to audit the funds and their disbursements for the sake of transparency and public accountability,” she said, reminding that such funds are intended for the promotion of the welfare and interests of Filipino war veterans, their spouses, and children.