News Archive 2012
NATION COMMEMORATES 70th YEAR OF VETERANS' VALOR
In commemoration of the 70th Year of Valor of Filipino Veterans this year, the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc., a duly registered organization of veterans of World War II, staged a concert featuring Broadway and classical music dubbed, "A Grand Night for Singing, A Tribute to the Filipino Veteran." Co-sponsored by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the concert will be held on 24 October 2012 at the AFP Theatre, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Featuring musicians and theater artists - prominent and budding ones alike who are scions of World War II veterans, the concert was directed by no less than Mr. Fritz Ynfante, a highly acclaimed director of numerous shows in theater and television and other productions in the entertainment industry.
Prior to the concert proper, PVAO formally launched the "70 Years of Valor of Filipino Veterans (1942-2012) Special Commemorative Stamps." The issuance of special commemorative stamps was undertaken in partnership with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of three significant historical events - the Araw ng Kagitingan, Heroism in Bataan and Valor in Corregidor.
PVAO and DBC also gave recognition to selected war veterans for gallantry in action, exceptional courage in combat in the defense of the country from the enemy, selfless sacrifices in the faithful performance of duty and high degree of leadership even after the war that distinguished themselves from their comrades in keeping with the highest tradition and truest spirit of veteranism. The honorees were MGen. Fortunato U. Abat AFP (Ret), Col. Vicente F. Alhambra (Ret), BGen. Emilio M. Narcise AFP (Ret), Ssgt Guillermo DS. Parayno (Ret), Capt. Simplicio Copiaco (Ret), Col. Emmanuel Jardeleza (Ret), Col. Conrado Resurrecion (Ret), Maj. Demetrio C. Paz, Capt. Antonio Zacarias, and Justice Eduardo C. Abaya.
The posthumous awardees represented by their families, were BGen. Gonzalo L. Batac AFP (Ret), BGen. Felix T. Pestana (Ret), BGen. Aristeo Ferraren (Ret), BGen. Victorino T. Azada AFP (Ret), Col. Venicio L. Jalandoni, Col. Manuel Montecillo, 2Lt. Adorado T. Masigan, Atty. Salvador Princesa, 2Lt. Jose S. Lina, Sr., and Col. Francisco Cedula (Ret).
Proceeds of the concert will be used for the construction of a War Memorial Museum within the Capas National Shrine in Tarlac. Through the aforementioned endeavors, PVAO and DBC aim to institutionalize a Memorial Day for veterans who have lost their lives in service of our country.
PVAO UNVEILS COMMEMORATIVE TRIBUTE STAMPS FOR VETERANS
The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) unveiled the "70 Years of Valor of Filipino War Veterans (1942-2012)" special commemorative stamps to honor the Filipino war veterans last October 24, 2012 at the AFP Theater Lobby, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Top officials from the PPC and the Department of National Defense (DND) unveiled the framed stamps collection before the honorees - the veterans of World War II. Mr. Cesar N. Sarino, Chairman of the PPC Board, and Luis D. Carlos - Assistant Postmaster General for Operations and Marketing represented the postal corporation while Undersecretaries Honorio S. Azcueta, Eduardo G. Batac and Ernesto G. Carolina represented the DND.
The issuance of the special commemorative stamps was undertaken as a fitting event to cap the traditional activities held during the Philippine Veterans Week last April 2012 as this year marks the 70th anniversary of three significant historical events - the Araw ng Kagitingan, Heroism in Bataan, and Valor in Corregidor.
The special commemorative stamps come in varying denomination and design" the seven-peso denomination depicting the grim "Death March;" the ten-peso denomination featuring one of the batteries used in the Defense of Corregidor; and the thirty-peso denomination showing the sacred Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) Memorial Cross in Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan.
PVAO embarked in this endeavor in view of its mission is to re-live our historic past and propagate the veterans' heroic deeds. In doing so, the agency hopes to fulfill one of our compelling tasks that is to help sow the seeds of patriotism, love of country and deep sense of national pride as we collectively invest in preparing our future defenders - the future Filipino veterans.
"The 70 Years of Valor of Filipino War Veterans (1942-2012) Commemorative Stamps Collection is our modest expression of gratitude to our World War II Veterans for paying the price of freedom, peace and democracy we now enjoy. We also thank Pres. Benigno Aquino III and other leaders, officials, individuals and groups who have been relentlessly supporting our advocacy of advancing the welfare of World War II veterans and their families," Administrator Carolina said.
WAR VETERANS TO RECEIVE SPECIAL RECOGNITION
In commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Filipino Veterans' Valor, the Department of National Defense (DND) through the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc (DBC) gave special recognition to some selected war veterans on October 24, 2012 at the Teatro Aguinaldo (AFP Theater), Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The honorees, considered as the last living eyewitnesses of the darkest period of Philippine history, included MGen. Fortunato U. Abat AFP (Ret), Col. Vicente F. Alhambra (Ret), BGen. Emilio M. Narcise AFP (Ret), Ssgt Guillermo DS. Parayno, Sr. (Ret), Capt. Simplicio Copiaco (Ret), Col. Emmanuel Jardeleza (Ret), Col. Conrado Resurrecion (Ret), Maj. Demetrio C. Paz, Capt. Antonio Zacarias, and Justice Eduardo C. Abaya .
The posthumous awardees, represented by their families, were BGen. Gonzalo L. Batac AFP (Ret), BGen. Felix T. Pestana (Ret), BGen. Aristeo Ferraren (Ret), BGen. Victorino T. Azada AFP (Ret), Col. Venicio L. Jalandoni, Col. Manuel Montecillo, 2Lt. Adorado T. Masigan, Atty. Salvador Princesa, 2Lt. Jose S. Lina, Sr., and Col. Francisco Cedula (Ret).
The special recognition was jointly presented by the PVAO and DBC. Usec. Honorio S. Azcueta , Undersecretary for Defense Affairs, Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs and LtGen. Ernesto G. Carolina, PVAO Administrator, presented the awards. Atty. Rafael G. Evangelista, National Commander of the DBC joined them conferring the special honors to the veterans.
"The criteria applied in the selection of honorees from among the 19,000 living World War II veterans receiving pension from the agency are as follows: for gallantry in action, exceptional courage in combat in the defense of the country from the enemy, selfless sacrifices in the faithful performance of duty and high degree of leadership even after the war that distinguished themselves from their comrades in keeping with the highest tradition and truest spirit of veteranism," Administrator Carolina said.
The awardees will be received a plaque of recognition, a specially crafted medallion and a certificate from the PVAO & DBC.
PVAO MARKS 40th YEAR WITH MILESTONES
The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) marked the celebration of its 40th Founding Anniversary last September 21, 2012 at the PVAO Covered Court, Veterans Compound, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City with milestones-the launching of the PVAO Veterans Records Digitization Program, the Electronic Information System (E-VEINS) and the "70 Years of Valor of Filipino Veterans (1942-2012) Special Commemorative Stamps."
The PVAO Veterans Records Digitization Program makes use of document scanning, imaging and indexing of all documents of pensioners, beneficiaries and claimants for proper document management. It will also provide onsite and off-site back-up of all claim records as records is the lifeblood of the agency. With the intervention of technology to facilitate easier records verification and retrieval, the program will make the processing of all claims faster and reduce, if not altogether eradicate document fraud / alteration that is possible in human handling.
E-VEINS, meanwhile, is a computer application designed by the Management Information Division of PVAO to provide inter-office connectivity between the PVAO central office in Camp Aguinaldo and its Field Service Extension Offices (FSEOs) in the regions and provinces. The E-VEINS would allow remote access to the central database of PVAO by authorized field officers to view the status of claims filed.
Among the highlights of the PVAO Ruby Anniversary Program was the presentation of the framed collection of "70 Years of Valor of Filipino Veterans (1942-2012)" Special Commemorative Stamps to various organizations of World War II veterans as a symbolic gesture of paying tribute to the veterans' heroic deeds. The issuance of the commemorative stamps to honor the veterans is a special project undertaken by PVAO, in partnership with the Philippine Postal Corporation, to cap this year's commemoration of three major historical events - the Heroism in Bataan, the Death March and the Valor in Corregidor.
This year's anniversary theme, "Ipunla ang Binhi ng Kabayanihan, Ihanda ang Beterano ng Kinabukasan," according to was chosen in fulfilment of PVAO's mission to prepare our youth to be our future defenders and our future leaders, which is an essential task in nation-building, LtGen. Ernesto G. Carolina, PVAO Administrator, said.
Sec. Voltaire T. Gazmin, the guest of honor and speaker, was represented by Usec. Honorio S. Azcueta, Undersecretary for Defense Affairs. In his prepared message, Sec. Gazmin lauded PVAO for "truly doing its job of ensuring the wellbeing of our veterans and for keeping their patriotic legacies ever burning in the hearts of our countrymen."
The Defense Secretary recognized the various areas in which PVAO has successfully acted itself out as the government's appreciation to the veterans, foremost of which is maintaining the integrity and accountability of the PVAO pension list and records. He underscored the value of truthful administration of pensions and benefits to the veterans and their dependents as it teaches and prepares the youth on their role as future defenders. He likewise highlighted the importance of conducting historical research and documentation capability, particularly the publication of untold stories of past military campaigns and battlefield victories through the efforts of the Veterans Memorial Historical Division. This increases the citizens' awareness and participation in various historical commemorations.
He also expressed his support to the prudent and accountable management of veterans affairs, assets, and properties granted by the government to the veterans, which was undertaken by the recently organized Veterans Affairs Management Division. This division makes sure that all the veterans activities adhere to the common aspirations of the Filipino veterans community in fostering unity and upholding the democratic way of life.
The 40th anniversary program culminated with the assurance from the Defense Secretary-as conveyed by Usec. Azcueta-of his total support in all PVAO's initiatives in keeping with the Good Governance agenda of our President.
PVAO HONORS 70 YEARS OF VALOR IN CORREGIDOR
His Excellency, Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III led the commemoration of the 70 Years of Valor in Corregidor Island on May 6, 2012 and once again paid tribute to the gallantry and heroism of the country's veteran heroes.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held prior to the program at the Dome Altar, Pacific War Memorial, in remembrance of the Filipino and American soldiers who died in defense of Corregidor.
"More than the Fall, we commemorate our soldiers' acts of bravery and their unconditional sacrifice for country. We remember their solid, principled stand for freedom; the impossible battle they faced; our soldiers fighting together as brothers in arms, many of them making the ultimate sacrifice for their countrymen. We remember our commanders: who bore the heavy burden of leading men into bloodshed, and even death, knowing that the fate of entire peoples rested in their hands," Pres. Aquino said.
The President also mentioned the late Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Filipino officer who took down three of the nine Japanese "Zero" fighters attacking his boat before it was captured in Corregidor. With profound reverence to Commodore Alcaraz, the President committed to ensure that the strong will of Filipino soldiers will be matched by boats, weapons, and sufficient training. According to the President, the truest tribute to those who have laid down their lives is to build a nation that is capable of protecting itself so that no sacrifice will ever be wasted.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also joined the event, along with about 25 Cabinet officials, representatives from the US Embassy, American and Filipino World War ll veterans, representatives of the Filipino American Memorials Endowment (FAME), Inc., Corregidor Foundation Inc., and officers and enlisted personnel from the uniformed services.
The President also directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Department of Tourism (DOT) to find ways to rehabilitate the said island's wharf. The Rock, as the island is also known, is home to decades-old structures which are rich in military and historical value. It is also one of the closest tourism sites where foreign guests are brought to for sight-seeing tours.
The commemoration in Corregidor on May 6 yearly celebrates not the fall but the fierce defense mounted by the Filipino and American soldiers that lasted for months despite the odds thereby giving the Allied forces time to restore a cordon of defense around the Pacific. In military parlance, the surrender of Corregidor was a tactical defeat but a strategic victory. Now, 70 years hence, the island of Corregidor serves as solid reminder of our veterans' unparalleled gallantry and valor, showing the world that Filipinos could fight against all odds, and die if need be, in the defense of their motherland.
SND TO PVAO: "SUSTAIN ANTI-FIXERS INITIATIVES"
DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE T. GAZMIN ordered the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to sustain its anti-fixers initiatives through the conduct of more anti-fixers seminars and workshops to PVAO officials and employees, intensified entrapment operations against fixers, and aggressive prosecution of fixing-related cases.
Sec. Gazmin issued this directive through Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs (USCVRA), in the report made by Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina about the successful conduct of a seminar initiated by the PVAO ANTI-FIXERS TASK GROUP (PATG) on April 30, 2012 at the PVAO Conference Room.
Prior to this, the Defense Chief affirmed with finality the dismissal of two PVAO employees found administratively liable for fixing related cases.
The "Seminar-Workshop on Combating Anti-Fixing Activities" facilitated by Ms. Thelma P. Japzon, is part of the information & education component of the PVAO Anti-Fixer Campaign Plan whereby 35 employees from various divisions participated. These employees were pre-selected by the Administrative Division from among the entire employee population of the agency based on their level of potential to inform and influence fellow employees.
In his speech during the seminar's closing ceremonies, the Administrator shared among the participants the victories of the sustained and intensified drive against fraud and fixing, most recent of which was the conviction of a surviving spouse who fraudulently availed of pension despite her remarriage. The decision was promulgated by the Regional Trial Court-Branch 66 in San Fernando City, La Union.
Addressing the participants who are recognized as Integrity Champions, the Administrator said, "Kayo ang mga haligi na siyang tunay na makapagtataguyod nitong ating Anti-Fixers Campaign Plan." He exhorted them to assist their respective divisions to strengthen their "Integrity Circles" that will monitor employee's compliance with the agency's policies and programs under the Integrity Development Action Plan (IDAP) and Moral Renewal Action Plan (MRAP), which are the general frameworks of the intensified campaign against fixers.
With Division Chiefs as group leaders, members of the Integrity Circles are also tasked to monitor those who belong to the Integrity Watchlist or those who have committed and persist in doing overt and covert acts that are unethical, if not outright unlawful, such as accepting or soliciting monetary or other material considerations in exchange of facilitating claims and connivance with fixing syndicates. Those in the watch list may either reform and be part of the circle or face the corresponding sanctions for their acts or omissions.
The Administrator also assured the PATG and the seminar participants not only of his continued support but also of DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin's support in the all-out-war against fixers.
Quoting an excerpt from a speech of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III, the PVAO Administrator said, "Fraudulent pensioners are the ultimate show of disrespect to those who have served their countries valiantly; and we are ensuring that a few greedy individuals do not pocket funds set aside for our heroes." This, he said, is not a mere rhetoric but a marching order from the Chief Executive, which is directed at PVAO.
"Nananawagan ako na tayo ay sama-samang magkaroon ng determinasyon na sugpuin ang isang bagay na ang nabibiktima ay ang mga taong pinagkakautangan natin ng loob-hindi lamang ng ating kalayaan kundi maging ng ating hanapbuhay," the Administrator said.
VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CONDUCTS HEARING ON VFP AND BTVWWII
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare held a public hearing in aid of legislation, on May 22, 2012 at Rooms 1 & 2 of the Ramon V. Mitra Hall, House of Representatives, to oversee the strict implementation of Republic Act No. 2640, "An Act to Create a Public Corporation to be known as the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, Defining Its Powers, and for Other Purposes."
Rep. Herminia B. Roman, the Chairwoman, presided the hearing that was attended by committee members, namely: Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, Rep. Hermilando I. Mandanas, Rep. Philip A. Pichay, Rep. Ma. Theresa David-Bonoan, and Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Alvarado-Sy.
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) officials headed by Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina were also present along with some leaders of veterans organizations, namely: the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP), Philippine Veterans Legion (PVL), USAFIP-NL Inc., Confederation of Veterans (CONVETS), Hunters ROTC Guerrillas Association, In. and AFP Retirees Veterans Association (AFPREVA).
Upon the request of Rep. Roman, the Administrator gave an update on the "TO DO LIST" of the VFP. He reported that PVAO has already crafted a Constitution and By-Laws of the VFP and it was already submitted to the Legal Division of the Department of National Defense. The proposed Constitution and By-Laws reflects the DND's mandate and vision on the VFP vis-a-vis the consolidated best positions and proposals of various veterans organizations and the current VFP leadership. It is also in accordance with the purposes and mandate of RA 2640, adopting the framework of a public corporation under the supervision and control of Secretary of National Defense.
Meanwhile, an update on the utilization of the Board of Trustees of Veterans of World War II (BTVWWII) funds as prescribed in Republic Act No. 3518 was referred to the VFP officials present. Justice Manuel Pamaran, VFP Legal Counsel, argued that the BTVWWII is a private entity created under the original charter of the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) and the source of its funds, which is PVB, is a private commercial bank. Hence, it should not be required to submit any report to the Committee since it is not a government entity and is not subject to audit.
However, representatives from other veterans organizations strongly maintained that PVB was created by government thru its charter (RA 3518) and was capitalized with government funds, and is in fact owned by WWII veterans. Adm. Carolina likewise stressed Section 23 of RA 3518 which provides that 20% of the net profits of the PVB, which goes to the BTVWWII, "shall be available for 'grants-in-aid' to veterans, their widows, orphans, or compulsory heirs, for educational, social, charitable, and rehabilitation purposes, to organization doing service for the cause of the veteran, and for such other purposes beneficial to the veterans." As such, the transactions of the BTVWWII are deeply imbued and impressed with public interest and the veterans should be informed on how these funds were used for their benefit and welfare.
Committee members, therefore, resolved to compel the BTVWWII by way of a Committee Resolution in aid of legislation to submit a five (5) year report of disbursements and utilization of BTVWWII Funds.
The Committee also inquired on the delisting of rural banks among the banks accredited by the PVAO. Following the complaints of the Rural Banks Association of the Philippines (RBAP), Rep. Rufus Rodriguez noted that in provinces such as Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where the six (6) PVAO accredited banks have no branches and the nearest commercial bank would entail three to four hours of travel, PVAO should have a mechanism whereby pensioners whose existing accounts are with the rural banks can be accommodated for their comfort and convenience.
The Administrator explained that the delisting of rural banks was a consequence of PVAO's total shift from mailing of pension checks to the Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System (DRPSS) which allows the office to monitor efficiently the status of pensioners and prevent losses on the part of the government. With DRPSS, PVAO generated savings that was used to pay unpaid pension arrearages. However, the rural banks do not have the requisite full banking services needed to efficiently service pensions such as on-line services, automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic fund transfer capability. RBs continue to rely on mailing as a means of receiving pension checks from PVAO which are subsequently credited to pensioners' accounts. It was also explained that less than two percent (2%) of PVAO pensioners had accounts with the rural banks, yet, there were 94 rural banks which PVAO had to transact with. Moreover, in the last technical budget hearing at the Department of Budget & Management (DBM), it was prescribed that PVAO should limit the servicing of pension to the current six (6) commercial banks and three (3) financial institutions in order to simplify monitoring of pensioners and bank reconciliation.
To look deeper into this, the Committee made a motion for the PVAO Administrator to submit to the Committee a mapping of pensioners banking with rural banks for further evaluation and consideration.
WAR VETERANS HONORED
In Commemoration of 70 Years of Valor of Filpino Veterans
In commemoration of the 70 Years of Valor of Filipino War Veterans, the Department of National Defense (DND) through the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (DBC) Inc., gave special recognition to selected war veterans on October 24, 2012 at the Teatro Aguinaldo (AFP Theater), Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The honorees, considered as the last living eyewitnesses of the darkest period of Philippine history, included MGen. Fortunato U. Abat AFP (Ret), BGen. Emilio M. Narcise AFP (Ret), Ssgt Guillermo DS. Parayno, Sr. (Ret), Capt. Simplicio Copiaco (Ret), Col. Emmanuel N. Jardeleza (Ret), Col. Conrado Resurreccion (Ret), Maj. Demetrio C. Paz, Capt. Antonio Zacarias, and Justice Eduardo C. Abaya.
The posthumous awardees, represented by their families, were BGen. Gonzalo L. Batac AFP (Ret), BGen. Felix T. Pestana AFP (Ret), BGen. Aristeo T. Ferraren AFP (Ret), BGen. Victorino T. Azada AFP (Ret), Col. Venicio L. Jalandoni (Ret), Col. Manuel G. Montecillo (Ret), 2Lt. Adorado T. Masigan (Ret), Atty. Salvador A. Princesa, 2Lt. Jose S. Lina, Sr. (Ret), and Cmdr. Francisco G. Cedula.
Usec. Honorio S. Azcueta, Undersecretary for Defense Affairs, Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Reserve Affairs and LtGen. Ernesto G. Carolina, AFP (Ret.), PVAO Administrator, presented the awards to the honorees, together with. Atty. Rafael G. Evangelista, National Commander of the DBC and Over-all Chairman of DBC's Organizing Committee.
Year 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of three significant events in our history - the Death March, Heroism in Bataan, and Valor in Corregidor.
As the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) observes and commemorates the Philippine Veterans Week yearly, we have always endeavored to convey, especially to the present breed of Filipinos, that what we commemorate every 9th of April is not the "Fall of Bataan" but the heroism our youthful and brave soldiers and guerrillas showed when they made their courageous stand against an implacable enemy to defend the peninsula .
Likewise, we have always strongly communicated that we are not observing the "Fall of Corregidor" on the 6th of May but the valor exhibited by the Filipino and American soldiers in defending the last remaining obstacle to the enemy's taking of Manila Bay. Isolated after the fall of Bataan, Corregidor could not hold for long after almost a month of heavy bombardment mounted by the enemy. With aerial and artillery supremacy, Corregidor was forced to yield on May 6, 1942 to protect the wounded in Malinta Tunnel.
In military parlance, the battles in Bataan and Corregidor were tactical defeats but strategic victories. The defense mounted by the Filipino and American soldiers that lasted for more than four months bought the US and its allies valuable time to repair the heavily damaged Pearl harbor and restore a cordon of defense around the Pacific. This also forced the Japanese to slow down, giving the Allied Forces adequate preparation for all-out offensive years thereafter until freedom was won.
Now, 70 years after, Bataan, Corregidor, and Death March, serve as perpetual reminders of our veterans' unparalleled gallantry and valor, showing the world that Filipinos could fight against all odds, and die if need be - in defense of their motherland.
To make the commemoration more exceptional, PVAO has partnered with the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) for the issuance of special commemorative stamps to honor the 70 Years of Valor of Filipino Veterans (1942-2012), a fitting event to cap the traditional activities undertaken during this year's commemoration.
The special commemorative stamps come in varying denomination and design: the seven-peso denomination depicts the grim "Death March;" the ten-peso denomination features one of the batteries used in the Defense of Corregidor; and the thirty-peso denomination shows the sacred Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) Memorial Cross in Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan.
With this undertaking, PVAO hopes to engage the all-freedom-loving citizens to contribute to nation-building, particularly in fulfilling the compelling task of sowing the seeds of patriotism, love of country and deep sense of national pride in our present and future generations. By doing so, we are collectively investing in our youth, preparing them to become future Filipino veterans - the nation's future defenders and leaders.
PRES. AQUINO LEADS THE 70TH ARAW NG KAGITINGAN RITES
Shares Good News to Veterans
PILAR, BATAAN - President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III led the entire nation in the 70th commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan on April 9, 2012 at the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor), Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan, the highlight of the 2012 Observance of the Philippine Veterans Week.
In his speech, Pres. Aquino said we owe it to our veterans to ensure that their sacrifices have not been in vain. Thus, he added that veterans must be given proper care and compensation in return for their sacrifice. He then proceeded to share some good news, among which is the access to health benefits in a more convenient manner. The President cited that there are "599 hospitals in our country have been accredited by the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center as regional or provincial extensions' where veterans and their eligible dependents may avail of treatment and medical benefits. President Aquino likewise announced the expansion of the services that can be subsidized by the VMMC to include cataract operations, coronary angiograms, and cardiac bypasses.
He also mentioned the Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System being implemented by PVAO which enables "veterans to receive their pension in a faster and more efficient manner. The list of our countrymen who receive pensions has also been purged of false claimants, so that these funds arrive only where they are meant to go."
Japan Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Deputy Chief of Mission Leslie Basset of the US Embassy also extolled the valor and courage the veterans demonstrated during the war. The Japanese Ambassador expressed his heartfelt apologies and deep sense of remorse for the tragedy that was the Second World War. He also added that despite all the suffering during the war, Filipinos today are one of the most pro-Japanese people citing the Filipino caregivers who stayed on in Fukushima prefecture after the nuclear accident. He ended his speech by saying, "Sa pagkakaisa tayo ay malakas, sa pagkakawatak-watak tayo'y babagsak."
Miss Bassett, meanwhile, said the US Embassy distributes over $8 million in benefits to eligible Filipino veterans every month, and that in the last two years, over 18,000 Filipino veterans have received payments totaling over $220 million under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Program.
She said there have been similar commemorative activities all over the United States to honor the legacy of Bataan. One of those is in New Mexico where almost 7,000 people participated in the re-enactment of the Death March, "trudging through desert sand, some carrying heavy packs to make it harder though not as hard as the cruel calvary that our heroes endured." Thanking each and every hero of Bataan, Miss Bassett gave assurance that "the torch of memory will be kept burning brightly."
This year marks the 70th anniversary of three major historical events - the Heroism in Bataan, the infamous Death March, and the Valor in Corregidor.
With the theme, "BETERANO: Tagasulong ng Tunay at Walang Humpay na Pagbabago" that underscores the significant contributions and the influential roles of our veterans not defending the country but also in keeping peace, upholding democracy and attaining progress, the Steering Committee on National Observances lined-up a serious of activities to make this year's commemoration more meaningful.
Guided by Executive Order No. 23, Series of 1987 and Proclamation No. 466, series of 1989, these weeklong activities aim to promote, preserve, and memorialize the principles, ideals, and deeds of our war veterans as a means to enhance patriotism and love for the country, especially among the youth of the land.
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa paggunita sa Araw ng Kagitingan
[Inihayag sa Dambana ng Kagitingan, Mt. Samat, Pilar, Bataan, noong ika-9 ng Abril 2012]
Former President Fidel Ramos; Secretary Albert del Rosario; His Excellency Toshinao Urabe; Excellency Ms. Leslie Basset; excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps; Secretary Voltaire Gazmin; Secretary Leila de Lima; Secretary Armin Luistro; Congressman Abet Garcia; Congresswoman Herminia Roman; Vice Governor Efren Pasual; Mayor Carlos Pizarro; mayors of the province of Bataan; Dr. Maria Serena Diokno; Lieutenant General Ernesto Carolina, Administrator, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office; Chief of Staff, General Jessie Dellosa; Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome; Vice Admiral Alexander Pama; Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Lieutenant Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force; veterans of World War II; members of World War II Veterans Organizations; fellow workers in government; honored guests; mga minamahal ko pong mga kababayan:
Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.
Sa atin pong kasaysayan, minsan sinabi po ni Pangulong Quezon kay Heneral MacArthur sa isang liham, and I quote: "I am greatly concerned as well regarding all the soldiers I have called to the colors and who are now manning the firing line. I want to decide in my own mind whether there is justification in allowing all these men to be killed, when for the final outcome of the war the shedding of their blood may be wholly unnecessary."
Hindi po biro ang hawakan ang buhay ng libu-libong kababayan, o milyon-milyong kababayan; marahil po si Pangulong Quezon mismo ay napatanong: para saan ang lahat ng ito? May silbi ba, sulit ba ang sakripisyo?
Wala pong pinuno ang magnanais na humarap sa ganitong klaseng sangandaan, lalo pa't kalayaan ang nakataya. Hahawak ba ng armas para makidigma, gayong mukhang naitakda na ang kahahantungan nito? O ititiklop ba ang bandila, upang tumigil na ang pagdanak ng dugo? Hindi po natin ninanais na maulit ito. Iyan po ang ugat ng paninindigan nating patibayin ang ating Sandatahang Lakas.
Sa araw pong ito, ipinagdiriwang natin ang kolektibong kagitingan ng ating lahi. Kagitingan ng ating mga beteranong sumagupa sa kalaban upang ipagtanggol ang bayan nilang sinilangan. Kagitingan ng mga sibilyan na hinarap ang baril at bayoneta sa ngalan ng malasakit.
Batid po natin: sa panahon ng digmaan, bawat indibidwal ay haharap sa mga hamong susukat sa kanilang kagitingan. Yuyukod ba ako o taas-noong haharap sa dumadaang sundalo ng kalaban? Iaabot ko ba itong isang basong tubig sa nauuhaw na kababayan, bagama't may peligrong ako mismo ay maparusahan?
Ngunit para po sa ating mga beterano, simple lang ang usapan. "Ito ang lupaing bukal ng aking buhay; nakatindig pa rin ang bandilang sagisag ng aking karangalan. Kailangan ko itong ipaglaban." Ang mga tanong—para saan pa ang lahat ng ito? May silbi ba ang aking sakripisyo?-ang mga ito, kung mayroon man, ay nanatiling kipkip sa kanilang isipan, habang ang katawan naman ay buong-tapang nilang iniharap sa kalaban. At ang mga pagpapasya ay ipinaubaya sa mga pinuno; sa panahon ng digmaan, ang atas ay atas at kailangan itong sundin.
Kaya nga po marapat ding gunitain ang isa pang uri ng kagitingan. Ito po ang kagitingan ng mga pinuno: silang hindi yumukod sa pasan ng mga napakabigat na pasya, na siyang humubog sa kapalaran ng kapwa Pilipino.
Puspusan po ang pagtratrabaho ng ating gobyerno upang maihatid sa ating mga kawal ang mga serbisyong karapat-dapat lamang nilang matanggap. Ang gusto natin, sakaling humantong sa labanan, ay kakayanin nating pumalag. Naglalayag na po ang BRP Gregorio del Pilar, ang ating unang Hamilton Class Cutter; taas-noo po siyang nagbabantay ng ating teritoryo. Paparating na rin po ang kapatid ng barkong ito sa Mayo, upang mas lalo pa nating mabantayan ang ating mga dagat at baybayin. Noong isang buwan lamang po, apat sa walong Combat Utility Helicopter ang naiturn-over na sa ating Sandatahang Lakas; nito rin pong susunod na Nobyembre ay darating naman ang natitira pang apat. Mayroon na rin pong isandaan at tatlumpu't walong proyektong nakapila sa ating Defense Acquisition System—ipapatupad po natin iyan sa susunod na limang taon.
Lahat po iyan ay nag-uugat sa mabuting pamamahala; sa pagkilala na ang integridad at karangalan ay manganganak ng mga programang pakikinabangan ng taumbayan. Alam ko pong mataas ang morale ng ating kasundaluhan sa ngayon, hindi lamang dahil sa pabahay o combat allowance na kanilang natatanggap, kundi dahil alam nilang natatanggal na ang kultura ng katiwalian sa kanilang pamunuan.
Karangalan po ang magsilbi sa bayan bilang sundalo; at mas malalim na karangalan ang dumaan sa pasakit para ipagtanggol ang kalayaan. Ipinagpupugay po ng estado ang ating mga beterano, at naniniwala akong kailangang suklian ng pag-aaruga ang kanilang mga naging sakripisyo. Kung hindi pa po ninyo nababalitaan, hayaan po ninyong ako na ang maghatid ng good news para sa inyo: Nito pong ika-tatlumpu't isa ng Marso, mas madali nang makakatanggap ng benepisyong pang-kalusugan ang ating mga beterano. Limandaan, siyamnapu't siyam na ospital po sa buong bansa ang na-accredit ng Veteran's Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) bilang regional o provincial extension. [Applause] Lumawak na rin po ang mga serbisyong maaaring i-subsidize ng VMMC—pati po operasyon sa katarata, coronary angiogram, at cardiac bypass ay kasali na.
Dahil rin po sa ipinapatupad na Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System, mas mabilis at mas wasto nang matatanggap ng mga beterano ang kanilang pensyon. Nilinis na rin po ang mga talaan ng mga pensyonado nating kababayan, upang masigurong ang pera ay nakakarating sa dapat nitong hantungan.
Iyan po ang ilan sa mga paraan upang kilalanin natin ang kagitingan ng ating mga beterano, na ginugunita natin sa araw na ito. Mahabang panahon na rin po ang lumipas; at marami na rin ang nagbago.
Ang bansang dating kalaban ay isa nang kaibigan. Lalo ring tumibay ang alyansa natin sa mga Amerikanong naging kasangga natin sa digmaan. Ngayon, nabubuhay na tayo nang mapayapa, at natutuhan ang aral ng kasaysayan: walang naidudulot ang karahasan; hindi matatamo ang kaunlaran kung hindi makikipag-ugnayan sa mga karatig-bansa; nasa interes ng lahat ang pakikipagtulungan. Matagal nang natuyo ang dugong dumanak sa ating mga lupain; tinangay na ng hangin ang amoy ng pulbura; at naibsan na ang hapdi sa pagbabalik-tanaw. Kung itanong ulit natin sa sarili: Para saan ang lumipas na digmaan? May pinatunguhan ba ang lahat ng sakripisyo?
Pitumpung taon na po ang lumipas, ngunit hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pa rin ang pagtugon natin sa mga tanong na iyan. Ngunit ang natitiyak ko po: utang ng loob natin sa mga beterano na siguruhing hindi masayang ang kanilang sakripisyo. Dahil tayo ang tumatamasa ng kalayaan, utang ng loob natin sa kanila ang pag-abot sa pinangarap na kaunlaran; ang pagsiguro na walang Pilipinong maiiwan; ang pagpapatupad ng tunay na katarungan. Lahat po ng isinasagawa natin ngayon upang maglatag ng reporma, palaguin ang ekonomiya, at iangat ang kapwa mula sa kahirapan, ay nag-uugat sa isang kaisipan: Utang ng loob natin sa mga naunang nagsakripisyo ang siguruhing sulit, sulit na sulit pa rin, ang mabuhay nang malaya sa bansang Pilipinas.
Sa araw pong ito, ginugunita natin ang simula ng Death March: Matapos ang apat na buwan ng paninindigan, nahulog ang Bataan sa mga kamay ng kalaban. Pumatak ang dugo ng Pilipino at Amerikano sa isandaang kilometro mula Mariveles hanggang San Fernando, bago sila isakay sa tren upang ikulong sa Capas.
Iyan po ang ating ginugunita, ngunit hindi iyan ang ating ipinagdiriwang. Ipinagdiriwang natin ang tibay ng loob ng Pilipinong humarap sa kalaban taglay ang tapang, karangalan, at pagmamahal sa bayan bilang pinakamatalas na sandata. Ipinagdiriwang natin ang lakas na nagbukal sa kanilang puso—lakas na taglay rin ng bawat Pilipino, at maaaring magbigkis sa atin sa araw-araw nating pagtahak sa tuwid na landas. Ipinagdiriwang natin ang Araw ng Kagitingan.
Mabuhay ang atin pong mga beterano. Mabuhay ang malayang Pilipinas. Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino. Maraming salamat po.
Source : Official Gazette, Office of the President, Republic of the Philippines
Link: President Aquinos Speech in Commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan
RP-Korea Fortifies Friendship
Pres. Aquino & South Korean PVA Minister Inaugurate PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall
The Republics of the Philippines and South Korea has tested their brotherhood and friendship in time of war, now, both governments even fortified their bond through a solid and lasting testament - the PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall (PKWMH) that was inaugurated on March 29, 2012 by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and South Korean Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Sung Choon Park.
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, son of the youngest Korean War correspondent, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., led the unveiling of the PKWMH dedication marker together with Minister Park. They were joined by former President Fidel V. Ramos, the most prominent Korean War veteran, Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Hye Min Lee, Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, and United Korean Community Association in the Philippines President Lee Won Joo.
The PKWMH constructed at the Libingan ng mga Bayani Bayani Road, Taguig City pays tribute to the 7,420 officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who belonged to the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) who served from 1950 to 1955 when war broke out in Korea. Despite having to rebuild an economy shattered by the Second World War while simultaneously subduing its own dangerous communist insurgency, the Philippines never hesitated to participate in the Korean War, making the Philippines the first in Asia, third only to the US and Great Britain, in sending combat troops to Korea.
PEFTOK was composed of five Battalion Combat Teams (BCTs), all battle-hardened units who had seen years of fighting the communist Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP). These are the 10th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized), 20th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized), 19th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized), 14th Battalion Combat Team, and 2nd Battalion Combat Team. None of these PEFTOK battalions was defeated or made incapable of combat as a result of enemy action despite many hard fought battles. PEFTOK consistently defeated its main enemy-the "Chinese People's Volunteer Army" in various encounters in hills, cities and towns along the 38th Parallel dividing Korea.
In successfully defending South Korea, the Philippines cemented a friendship that endures to this day, which is a source of great pride to both nations.
Col. Paterno Viloria, Ph.D., President of the PEFTOK Veterans Association Inc. (PVAI) thanked the leaders of the South Korean government for their grateful recognition of PEFTOK veterans as well as their grant of various benefits to PEFTOK veterans and their families. These benefits include scholarships for PEFTOK dependents, hospitalization assistance, burial assistance and the Korean re-visit program. He also thanked the Philippine government for extending the same benefits for all veterans, not only to members of PEFTOK.
The PKWMH is one of two buildings at the Philippines-Korea Friendship Center which houses the Philippines' first-ever museum specifically about the Korean War; a multi-purpose hall, an office for PVAI, a library, a roof deck and other facilities. Inside the museum are panels depicting and describing the history of the Philippines' involvement in the Korean War and memorabilia from our soldiers, including the weapons they used in the Korean War.
SEC. GAZMIN INDUCTS VFP OFFICERS
Urges VFP to Work for All Veterans
Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin encouraged the newly-elected officers of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) officers "to make VFP work for all veterans" during their oath-taking and courtesy call last January 18, 2012 at the EDSA Lounge, 3rd flr., DND Building.
As a public corporation of veterans created pursuant to Republic Act 2640, VFP is direct supervision and control of the Secretary of National Defense. It was primarily established to represent and to defend the interest of all Filipino veterans, to coordinate the efforts of various veterans on behalf of the interests of their respective members; to promote mutual help among former comrades-in-arms; to perpetuate their common experiences in war; to undertake acts of charity and relief work, to preserve peace and order; to foster love of country and things Filipino and inculcate individual civic consciousness and to uphold and defend the democratic way of life as envisioned in the Constitution.
Sec. Gazmin also reminded the elected officers of the VFP to always keep in mind the provision in Section 4 of RA 2640 which states that, "In general, the Federation shall exist solely for purposes of a benevolent character, and not for pecuniary profit of its members."
He likewise recognized the vigorous participation and full cooperation of its members in events and activities that commemorate and promote veterans’ heroic deeds and legacies.
The VFP National Officers, who were elected during the 66th Regular Meeting of the VFP Supreme Council last November 20, 2011 are as follows:
President Emmanuel de Ocampo Executive Vice President Francisco T. San Miguel Vice President for Charter Organizations Arnulfo D. Banez Vice President for Affiliate Organization Cesar P. Pobre Regional Vice President, NCR Orestes F. Lopez Regional Vice President, Region I Marcelino M. dela Cruz Regional Vice President, Region II Melosino L. Respicio Regional Vice President, Region III Felix M. Miguel Sr. Regional Vice President, Region IV Sancho A. Tamayo Regional Vice President, Region V Lope D. Rili Sr. Regional Vice President, Region VI Antonio Q. Collado Regional Vice President, Region VII Democrito T. Mendoza Regional Vice President, Region VIII Raymundo H. Padua Regional Vice President, Region IX Leandro T. Pacio Regional Vice President, Region X Albertino C. Macas Regional Vice President, Region XI Isaias A. Pacudan Regional Vice President, Region XII Ramon P. Miranda Regional Vice President, Region XIII Andres V. Atega Regional Vice President, CAR Gualterio P. Adalim
Also present during the call were Usec. Honorio Azcueta, Undersecretary for Defense Affairs; Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans, and Reserve Affairs (USCVRA), and LtGen. Ernesto G. Carolina AFP (Ret.), PVAO Administrator.
Veterans and Dependents Thank PVAO - FILVETS-VFP for Medical & Dental Missions
About 300 veterans, their dependents, and other beneficiaries who availed of free medical and dental consultations and diagnostic services thanked the organizers of the recently held medical and dental missions held on January 20 & February 28, 2012 at the Veterans Center, Camp Aguinaldo and EP Village, Taguig City, respectively.
The organizers include the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the Filipino War Veterans Foundation, Inc. (FILVETS), Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP), The Last Watering Hole Association, Inc. (TLWHAI), and the SM Foundation, Inc.
The regular medical and dental mission provides services such as dental extraction, bone scanning, ECG, and cholesterol screening. A mobile X-ray clinic was also made available through the SM Foundation Inc. Wheelchairs and walking canes were also given.
Mrs. Emerenciana Belleza, wife of a veteran, was very grateful for getting her new pair of eyeglasses. "Marami kayong natutulungan. Sana ipagpatuloy niyo pa ang inyong ginagawa. I love you all!" said Mrs. Belleza who can now sign her name after being able to see more clearly.
Most of the veterans and spouses who benefitted from the medical mission at the Veterans Center were just about to withdraw their monthly from their pension servicing banks nearby when they learned about the medical mission.
Col. Jaime Dominguez, a PEFTOK veteran, was also just withdrawing his pension from AFPSLAI when he learned from a fellow veteran that there is a medical mission at the Veterans Center. He was very thankful because the services provided in the mission is "one less trip to VMMC." In his words, "Kumuha ka lang ng pension, nakapag-avail ka pa at no cost ng medical and health services."
Col. Dominguez also encouraged his fellow veterans to support these undertakings as this will not only allow them to avail of free medical and dental services but more so, it is a chance to meet and fellowship with other veterans.
The PVAO-FILVETS medical mission is one of the activities under the PVAO-FILVETS partnership geared towards providing health care services to Filipino veterans residing in far flung provinces who cannot avail of the services of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
PVAO - FILVETS Reaffirm Partnership with New MOA
The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and the Filipino War Veterans Foundation (FILVETS), Inc. reaffirmed their partnership in providing medical, health, and educational services to veterans and their dependents with the signing of a new Memorandum of Agreement at FILVETS office in Pamayanang Diego Silang, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City on February 9, 2012.
The MOA was signed by PVAO Administrator Lt. Gen. Ernesto G. Carolina AFP (Ret.) and FILVETS Chairman, Gen. Renato S. De Villa AFP (Ret.). Also present in the MOA signing was Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP) President Emmanuel V. de Ocampo who is member of the FILVETS Board of Directors.
As provided in the MOA, a total of P1.5 million was given to FILVETS to support the regular operation and maintenance of their eleven (11) medical outreach clinics nationwide that provide year-round medical assistance and maintenance medicines to veterans and their dependents, especially those residing in far-flung areas. In addition, FILVETS also conduct medical and dental missions held all over the country.
Moreover, FILVETS provide livelihood trainings to war veterans, AFP retirees, and active military personnel and their first degree dependents through its non-profit training center called FILVETS Livelihood Training and Productivity Center. Some of the courses offered in the center are Computer Hardware Servicing, Computer Programming, Data Encoding, Building Wiring Installation, Sewing, Welding, Practical Electronics, Building Construction, General Auto Mechanic, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Food Trades, and Reflexology. Since 1989, FILVETS has been faithfully working with PVAO in providing responsive and relevant medical assistance to the veterans and their families, especially those in far-flung areas.
PVAO joins International Women's Month Celebration
PVAO joined the worldwide celebration of International Women's Month in a special program held during the Monday flag ceremony on March 5, 2012 at PVAO Covered Court.
Dressed in pink polo shirts, PVAO employees were reminded of the invaluable contributions of women in the society, particularly with this year’s theme: "Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability, Everyone's Responsibility."
PVAO Deputy Administrator and Gender and Development (GAD) Focal Person, Atty. Romeo S. Lazo, emphasized the role of women in mitigating disaster risks. He cited mothers who carries out garbage segregation at homes and are able to teach it to their children and female government employees who ensure that environmental measures are instituted and are carried out at the national and local levels in order to build resilient communities.
Special GAD pins were also given to those who have attended and participated in the Gender and Sensitivity Training organized by the PVAO GAD Secretariat.
Meanwhile, PVAO Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina announced three important developments in PVAO, which will significantly contribute to the welfare of women—particularly the spouses of the veterans.
First, he ordered the upgrading of the workplace conditions in PVAO, particularly the repair of facilities and acquisition of equipment that will redound to added comfort and convenience of employees who are mostly women.
Second, he announced the inclusion of surviving spouses of World War II veterans who died between April 1994—December 2009 in the priority for the payment of the Total Administrative Disability (TAD) pension. Gauging from the many pronouncements of the President honoring veterans and the nation's obligation to pay its obligations to them as guaranteed by the Constitution, the Administrator expressed his optimism that after World War II veterans shall have been fully paid with their TAD pension, then, the spouse would also receive what's due their late veterans-spouses.
Lastly, he instructed the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division to undertake a book project that will feature stories of women-veterans, wives of veterans, and other special women in the lives of the more famous veterans-heroes. He even suggested the working title, "Behind the Hero."
The Women's Month Celebration aims to raise awareness of national government agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, and communities on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and gender and climate change issues. International Women's Day is celebrated every 8th of March.
Below are the DND-wide activities held for the entire month of March:
March 5 – Flag-raising Ceremony at GHQ Canopy
March 9 – Tree-Planting at Daza Park
March 12-16 – GAD Orientation Seminar at AFPCOC
March 19 – Bloodletting at PVAO Covered Court
March 28 – Symposium on Magna Carta of Women at NDCP Hall.
Veterans Observe World Freedom Day
"Everyone is a freedom-fighter," said former president Fidel V. Ramos in very lighthearted yet engaging remarks during the 2012 World Freedom Day celebration held on February 8, 2012 at the Main Restaurant, AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
In the presence of war veterans from Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippines, the former President who is also a veteran of the Korean War, espoused unity of purpose, solidarity of values such as love of country, people, God, environment, hard work, education & excellence, and teamwork in nation-building regardless of rank, social status, or ethnic association.
Selected individuals and organizations were also recognized for their participation and contribution to achieving freedom, democracy, and human rights for all. The awardees were Justice Aurora N. Recina, Bulacan, former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights, Rep. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado (5th District), Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) President Lt. Gen Raul S. Urgello (Ret.), Hunters ROTC Supremo and former Congressman Frisco C. San Juan, PEFTOK Veterans Association Inc., Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Philippine Civic Action Group.
Joining in the awarding ceremony were former Executive Secretary Edurardo R. Ermita, Philippine Council of World Freedom (PCWF) President BGen. Guillermo A. Pecache AFP (Ret.), and PVAO Administrator Lt. Gen. Ernesto G. Carolina AFP (Ret.).
World Freedom Day marks the return of 22,000 ex-communist Chinese and North Korean war prisoners of the Korean War. It was promptly observed by founding units of the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD), an international non-governmental organization dedicated to uniting the freedom-and-democracy-loving people without distinction to race, nationality, location, occupation, religion, political affiliation, or sex. The WLFD is an offshoot of the Asian Pacific Anti-Communist League (APACL), which was established in 1954 under the joint sponsorship of the President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China, President Syngman Rhee of the Republic of Korea, and President Elpidio Quirino of the Republic of the Philippines.
Today, WLFD is a global organization comprised of 144 national chapters (including the Philippines) and affiliated international agencies, whose mission is to spotlight and encourage political freedoms through the strengthening of democratic principles in all countries of the world. The organization serves as a catalyst to focus international attention on the activities of people who are fighting for civil liberties.
Lingayen Gulf Landing Commemorated
Former President Fidel V. Ramos, Rep. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Gov. Amado Espino Jr., Archbishop Socrates Villegas were among the famous Pangasinenses whose presence made the commemoration of the 67th Lingayen Gulf Landing more meaningful to World War II veterans and heirs last January 9, 2012 at the Veterans Memorial Park, Dagupan City.
The commemoration ceremony was highlighted with the launching of the book, "Biographical Sketches of Pangasinan Heroes of World War II" authored by Deborah Beltran-Castillo and Dr. Cecilia Beltran-Daranciang. The book features some 20 veterans who played crucial roles in the liberation of the province that spurred other successful battles during the liberation campaign.
A medical mission for veterans was also held simultaneously during the book launching. PVAO Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina commended the leadership of the province for a well-organized and well-prepared event.
Historical Value of Tayak Hill in Laguna Recalled
The municipality of Rizal, Laguna recalled the historical value of Tayak Hill in World War II history during the 2nd Commemoration Ceremony at Tayak Hill, Brgy. Tala, Rizal, Laguna on February 22, 2012. Due to its vantage view of Laguna, Tayak Hill served as the command post of the Filipino-American Irregular Troops (FAIT) during World War II. The said unit saved three American soldiers whose planes had been damaged in a raid in Manila and had to perform an emergency landing in the hill, which also served as a landing field with a 300-meter runway. On on February 22, 1945, at the strong suggestion of Major Charles Howe, the US Armed Forces started dropping war material and food supplies, making Tayak Hill as the main depot of arms, ammunition, and foods to all guerilla fighting units in the province of Laguna.
These information were gathered through the books, "For Love of Freedom" by Juan B. Hernandez and "Lorenzo Cornista's Guerilla Interview" by Historian David L. Dwiggins who was one of the special guests of the said event.
PVAO Deputy Administrator Atty. Romeo S. Lazo was the guest of honor and speaker for the commemoration. He lauded the municipal government, led by Vice Mayor Ferdinand Sumague, and the Batang Rizal Organization for its deeper appreciation and regard for their municipal's history.
VFP HOLDS 67TH SUPREME COUNCIL ASSEMBLY
The Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP), an umbrella organization of veterans organizations in the country, held its 67th Annual Supreme Council Assembly at the Veterans Center, Taguig City, with almost all Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) and District Commanders from all over the country in attendance.
The VFP Supreme Council is the highest governing body of the federation, consisting of elected officials representing their members from the smallest and remotest towns. The assembly is a venue for promulgation of national policies and enactment of resolutions advancing the welfare of veterans and their families. It also allows leader-veterans to socialize and interact with one another to strengthen their camaraderie, exchange stories based from shared experiences and brainstorm ideas.
Pangkat PVAO, headed by Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina and Deputy Administrator Romeo S. Lazo, graced the event upon the invitation of the VFP, to present updates on veterans affairs and benefits management. Ms. Maria Juanita S. Fajardo-Rivera, Chief, Strategic Communications Section, presented an audio visual presentation on the highlights of the 2012 Philippine Veterans Week, followed by Mr. Ferdinand C. Palor, Chief, Finance Division, who briefed the audience on Total Administrative Disability (TAD) pension payment to World War II veterans. Meanwhile, Ms. Raquel A. Cajuguiran, Chief of Claims Division, presented the revitalized Veterans Hospitalization Program (VHP) with Dr. Pilar D. Ibarra, Chief Medical Officer, who supplemented the report with the latest on PVAO's tie-up with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for the health insurance coverage of World War II veterans and surviving spouses. Dr. Dominador Chiong, Jr., Chief of Professional Staff of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) also made a briefing on VMMC’s healthcare services for veterans and their qualified dependents.
Gen. Raul S. Urgello, AFP (Ret.), Executive Director of the Filipino War Veterans Foundation, Inc. (FILVETS), likewise gave an update on its operations. Representatives from the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) and Board of Trustees of Veterans of World War II (BTVWWII) also made their respective presentations before the members of the Supreme Council.
Col. Emmanuel V. de Ocampo, VFP President, thanked the PVAO Administrator and the rest of Pangkat PVAO for their usual support to the VFP after which he awarded them certificates of appreciation.
PVAO ISSP GETS NCC APPROVAL
The PVAO Information Systems Strategic Plan (PVAO-ISSP) for the period 2012-2014 was finally APPROVED by the National Computer Center (NCC), an agency under the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology tasked to develop a Master Plan for Electronic Data Processing (EDP) in the government.
According to Mr. Denis Villorente, Officer in Charge, Office of the Director General of the said agency, the PVAO-ISSP has sufficiently identified the critical information systems that will support and address the agency's strategic thrusts and programs.
PVAO's ISSP was prepared by Mr. Mamerto B. Monses, Jr., Assistant Chief of the PVAO Management Information Division (MID) assisted by Ms. Katherine Tuballa-Arrojo and the MID Team . It was reviewed by Commo. Salvador Q. Esguerra, AFP (Ret.), MID Chief, while Mr. Nostradamus A. Villanueva, Director III, recommended for its approval by the Administrator.
The approved ISSP, upon submission to the NCC, underwent a thorough evaluation by Ms. Fely Hidalgo and review by Ms. Nora H. Arreco, Officer-In-C, ISSP Review Group. It was subsequently approved by Ms. Lorna M. Sales, Director of the Plans & Monitoring Office.
The NCC approval/authentication is crucial for its funding by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). As per Memorandum Order No. 237, all government agencies and other entities with projected Information Technology resource requirements are required to submit their ISSPs to the Department of Budget and Management for approval, upon the recommendation of the National Computer Center, to serve as basis for rationalizing the allocation of government funds for this purpose.
The PVAO ISSP provides a strategic IT framework for providing better services to PVAO's veterans and their beneficiaries. In addition, it maps out solutions to the perennial problems, loopholes, and shortcomings of the current systems. In pursuing these efforts, the ISSP supports the agency's goals and objectives through leadership and innovation in the management and use of information and communication technology (ICT). With objectives that are defined, realistic and achievable, its initiative focuses on improving the delivery of public service not only for the agency's clientele but for all operating divisions and units of PVAO. It also seeks to optimize modern information and communication applications in all strategic areas, processes, and systems of the organization.
PENSION-SERVICING SLAIs INK MOA WITH PVAO
Air Materiel Wing Savings & Loan Association, Inc. (AMWSLAI), Armed Forces and Police Savings & Loan Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI) and Composite Wing Savings & Loan Association, Inc. (CWSLAI), -three of the most trusted and established savings and loan associations of uniformed personnel in the country had once again affirmed their partnership with PVAO.
This was after the three "tiger" SLAIs signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last June 20, 2012 at the Ricarte Room, AFP Commissioned Officers Club, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City for the implementation of PVAO's Direct Remittance Pension Servicing System (DRPSS).
Representing the SLAIS in the signing ceremony were no less than their top officials, namely: LtGen. Cardozo M. Luna, AFP (Ret.), President and CEO of AFPSLAI; Col. Roseadel A. Ocbina, PAF, GSC (Ret.), President and Chairman of the Board of CWSLAI; and Col. Ricardo L. Nolasco, Jr. PAF, (Ret.), Chairman and President of AMSWLAI.
PVAO, on the other hand, was represented by its Administrator, LtGen. Ernesto G. Carolina, AFP (Ret.), together with Atty. Romeo S. Lazo, Deputy Administrator; and Mr. Ferdinand C. Palor, Chief of Finance Division, as witnesses.
In their respective remarks, both Gen. Luna and Col. Ocbina, whose mothers are PVAO pensioners, lauded PVAO for its continuing improvement in the delivery of its services to the veterans and their dependents which include the shift to DRPSS as pension delivery mode and the aggressive monitoring of its pensioners through annual revalidation.
"I still remember how difficult it was for my mother to travel to Camp Aguinaldo just to show 'proof of life.' My mother is already very old. This is why we are thankful when we learned that she can revalidate her pensioner status through mail. It was also a big relief on our part knowing that she can readily and regularly receive her pension through her pension account," Gen. Luna, a former Ambassador, noted.
DRPSS facilitates fast, efficient, and secure delivery pension for veterans and their beneficiaries using the modern electronic fund transfer and convenient delivery facilities of PVAO accredited pension servicing banks and financial institutions. With the full implementation of the DRPSS, PVAO has improved the monitoring of funds through bank reconciliation.
Pursuant to the MOA, the three SLAIs shall credit the corresponding amount of pension to the respective accounts of pensioners not later than the 25th of the applicable pension month. They shall extend the best service and treatment to veterans and other pensioners and provide a convenient place/venue for the withdrawal of their pensions. Among the salient provisions of PVAO's new MOA with the SLAIs is the mutual undertaking of both parties to regularly monitor the living status of pensioners through the regular updating of their Passbook/ATM accounts every six (6) months. A pension account, unless renewed, is automatically tagged six months after the date of its activation thereby disallowing any further withdrawal thereafter. The pensioner is given an additional time of two (2) months upon expiration of the six-month period to appear personally or cause the submission of a valid proof of life at the financial institution where he/she maintains his/her account for reactivation.
Also present during the MOA signing were Ms. Ludivina V. Daulat, State Auditor IV and COA Resident Auditor at PVAO; members of the PVAO Executive Committee; and some executives and staff of the three savings and loans associations.
VMMC WARD 4 OPENS TO PATIENTS
After a few months of repair, renovation and refurbishing, the Ward No. 4 at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) is now ready for occupancy by patients.
A simple blessing and re-dedication ceremony of the Ward 4 was held last April 26, 2012, with Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) as the special guest. With him was MGen. Delfin N. Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.),Presidential Assistant and Head, Office of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., USA who was then in the country for official mission.
Chiefs of various PVAO divisions comprising the PVAO Executive Committee (EXECOM) witnessed the event. They also witnessed the blessing of the VMMC Conference Room on the same day, together with the members of the VMMC Professional Staff.
Dr. Nona dela Fuente Legaspi, the VMMC Director, invited Administrator Carolina to be the first to use the Conference Room by addressing the members of the VMMC Professional Staff. The Administrator willingly obliged and presided a brief conference, seizing the opportunity wherein PVAO, OVA and VMMC top officials are present.
The repair, renovation and refurbishing of Ward 4 was funded by PVAO to provide veterans and their dependents with hospital rooms conducive to fast healing and complete recovery. It is the first of the two wards repaired by PVAO utilizing its own funds for the comfort and convenience of VMMC patients. The other ward being repaired and refurbished is the Ward 10.