MANILA, Feb. 24 — Following the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides US$ 198 million for Filipino veterans who aided American troops in World War II, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directed the Philippine Veterans Administration Office (PVAO) to establish temporary processing centers in the provinces.
Called the PVAO Fast Track Centers, the President issued the directive to spare veterans the cost of going to Metro Manila to have their claims processed.
“The roster of surviving World War II veterans now in PVAO and the updated database of government agencies that have records of living veterans will be the basis for where the PVAO FTCs shall be located,” the President said during the celebration held at the Heroes Hall in Malacanang.
Claims will be accepted from Filipino veterans eligible for one-time payments of $9,000 for non-U.S. citizens and $15,000 for Filipino veterans with U.S. citizenship.
All Filipino WWII veterans are requested to bring with them 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 nmber
- Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Pension bank account number
- U.S. Passport (if a U.S. Citizen)
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office, claims will only be accepted from Filipino WWII veterans to ensure that effective and transparent service is provided. If a veteran is unable to apply in person, the 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.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also said the payments do not affect other benefits veterans may be receiving. The VA regional office in Manila currently provides approximately $15 million monthly in monetary benefits to veterans residing in the Philippines. About $8 million of this goes to Filipino World War II veterans or their survivors each month.
The President said the PVAO staffers should communicate in simple and easy to understand language the entire processing exercise.
“In their old age and the winter of their lives, the veterans need more than ever, the tender and caring hands of government,” the Chief Executive said as she assured the Filipino veterans that her administration will continue working with the US government in ensuring that benefits and recognition are given to them.