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Filvets can go to 14 sites in RP to claim benefits

February 19, 2009 6:12pm
CHICAGO/MANILA – Filipino World War II veterans can claim their benefits in 14 different Philippine Veterans Affairs Offices (PVAO) in the Philippines, the US Embassy said on Thursday.

A statement posted on its Web site at US Embassy Web site said that for an individual to be eligible for payment, the US Department of Veterans Affairs must receive the individual’s claim not later than February 16, 2010.

The deadline of filing is one year from the date US President Barack Obama signed the historic legislation on February 17, 2009, providing for a new one-time lump-sum benefit payment for Filipino veterans.

"The United States has great respect for the bravery and service of Philippine WWII veterans and for their partnership with the US military in defending freedom. This new legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, formally recognizes the service of Filipino WWII veterans as active military service in the Armed Forces for purposes of this law," the statement said.

Officials of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs arrived in Manila Thursday to oversee the processing of claims for the one-time lump-sum benefit payment signed into law on February 17, 2009.

The benefits provide a tax-free, one-time $9,000 (roughly P430,000) non-service connected compensation for veterans who are not US citizens, and $15,000 (roughly P717,000) for veterans who are US citizens.

According to the US Embassy statement, veterans can inquire about and submit claims for the new lump-sum benefit at the USDVA Manila Regional Office located at the US Embassy in Manila.

The USDVA will also have representatives available to accept claims at the following locations throughout the Philippines on the dates listed below:

• Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) central office at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City;
• Veterans Memorial Medical Center at North Avenue, Quezon City;
• National Highway cor. Diversion Rd., Pagdaraoan, San Fernando City, La Union;
• 1-A Callangan Bldg., Bonifacio St., Tuguegarao, Cagayan;
• USAFIPNL Camp Henry T. Allen, Baguio City;
• Cleofer’s Bldg., Gen. Hizon Extension, City of San Fernando, Pampanga;
• Provincial Capitol, Batangas City;
• ANST Bldg., Washington Drive, Legazpi City, Albay;
• Old Provincial Capitol Bldg., Iloilo City;
• Centcom, Camp Lapu-Lapu Lahug, Cebu City;
• 126 Gomez St., Tacloban City, Leyte;
• Southcom Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City;
• Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City. and
• Door 4, Gutierrez Compound, Abad Santos Avenue, Davao City.

Veterans can apply from Feb. 19 to 27, 2009 at the PVAO central office and the Veterans' Memorial Medical Center.

For the regional offices, the USDVA representatives will accept claims from Feb. 24 and 26, 2009.

Claimants are requested to bring the following information and documentation (if applicable) when filing their claims:

• Two forms of Identification (such as passport, driver’s license, Senior Citizen ID, Bureau of Post ID, Voter ID, etc. )
• VA Claim number
• Service Number
• Philippine Veterans Affairs Office claim number
• Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Pension bank account number
• US Passport (if a US Citizen)

“If a veteran is unable to appear in person, the US Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office will arrange to obtain the application in an appropriate manner. Claims from spouses, widows and children of Filipino WWII veterans will not be accepted," said the statement.

A similar statement was also issued by the office of Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (Democrat - Hawaii), chairman of US Senate Veterans Affairs committee.

The benefits that were included in The Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (Dem.- Hawaii), US Senate Appropriations Committee chair, is being facilitated for distribution because most of the recipients are aged between 85 and 90 and are very sickly, said Akaka's office.

Said the US Embassy statement, "Although claims are now being accepted, information regarding the actual release of payments will be provided as it becomes available. This information will be available on the US Embassy website.

For more information please dial (632) 528-2500 within Metro Manila or from outside Manila toll-free at 1-800-1888-5252. Or contact VA via e-mail at https://iris.va.gov. - GMANews.TV