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Marcos wants pension system for war veterans fixed

PILAR, Bataan - The Philippine government is looking for ways to strengthen the pension system for war veterans, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Monday.

Marcos made the remark as he graced the celebration of the 81st anniversary of the Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor at Mt. Samat National Shrine in Bataan.

"Ang aming tinitingnan ay kung paano natin patibayin ang sistema ng pagbigay ng pensyon sa ating beterano dahil sa kasalukuyan, pagka hindi natin inayos ang sistema, hindi tatagal. Dahil malaki ang bibigay natin sa mga pension, merong nagre-retire bago sa retirable age," Marcos told reporters when asked if the pension for war veterans will increase.

"Itong mga problemang ito ay lilitaw 'yan kaya ang aming ginawa ay tiyakin muna na may sistema upang lahat ng ating beterano ay makatanggap ng kanilang tamang pensyon," he added.

(What we are looking at is how to strengthen the pension system for our veterans because at present, if we can't fix it, it'll not last long.)

Marcos said if the system would be fixed, the government can now check what other benefits it can provide to war veterans.

"Kapag naayos natin ito, tsaka na natin tingnan kung ano pa ang puwede nating ibigay lalo na sa World War II veterans," he said.

(If we fix the pension system, then we can look at other benefits we can give our World War II veterans.)

In his speech during the event, Marcos honored war veterans by noting that heroism can still be seen on them.

"We see it in our veterans — some of whom are here with us today. They have passed on to us this shining legacy, this treasure, for us to burnish," Marcos said.

The Chief Executive also pointed out that these "golden deeds that uphold the spirit of patriotism" must be celebrated.

"We celebrate all the individual acts of valor and of sacrifice. We celebrate the Filipino spirit. We celebrate our countrymen’s deep, abiding love of every Filipino: love for our land, love for our people, and love for our freedom," Marcos said.

Marcos offered wreath at the Dambana ng Kagitingan together with United States Charge d'Affaires Heather Variava and Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan.

In his earlier message, the President encouraged the public to honor Filipino heroes by speaking up against discrimination and making decisions that would address the country’s problems with compassion.

According to historians, the Day of Valor was being observed to commemorate and honor the thousands of Filipinos who dedicated their lives to free the country during World War II.

Historian Dr. Ricardo Jose said reservists and ordinary people such as farmers, students, office workers and non-professional armies fought against veteran Japanese troops during this period.

The province of Bataan became a symbol of hope, therefore it was a painful defeat for Filipinos when it fell on April 9.

Records showed that after the official surrender of Bataan to the Imperial Japanese forces, thousands of Filipino and American troops were forced to march from Mariveles, Bataan to Capas, Tarlac. —KBK, GMA Integrated News