President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will release P4.7 billion worth of benefits to the widows of veterans of World War 2 as well as military retirees aged 80 and above.
The President made the announcement when he led the flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on Monday to commemorate National Heroes Day.
“For those who were unpaid by the previous administration, for release is P4.7 billion for the payment of the total administrative liability and arrears for the deceased and widows of World War 2 veterans and AFP retirees 80 years old and above. This was under the 2016 budget but was not released by [then President]Aquino,” Duterte said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
“There will be P3.5 billion for the widows and P1.2 billion for the AFP retirees. Is that okay? This will be released as soon as possible,” Duterte added.
The Joint Implementing Rules and Regulations for the release of the fund was signed by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The President also said that at least P270,000 in burial cash assistance for the remaining war veterans was sourced from the Presidential Social Fund.
Earlier, Duterte allocated P39.5 billon under the proposed P3.35-trillion 2017 budget for the salary hike of the police and all uniformed personnel.
Duterte, however, clarified that he is not after the loyalty of the security forces.
“I don’t crave for their loyalty…or intend to nurture their loyalty to me. This is not dictatorship. That’s why I’ve been telling Congress that if they can finish the [shift to]federalism in three years, I would gladly step down,” Duterte said, referring to the Congress-led Constituent Assembly expected to amend the 1987 Constitution by next year.
The President, however, issued a stern warning on police and soldiers who will aid criminals.
“I am telling you, do not go on the other side. Otherwise, you will be first in the [kill]list,” he said.