News articles about the release of P4.7 billion for Armed Forces of the Philippines’ retirees and the widows of the soldiers came out, President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters were quick to rain praises on him.
One Duterte fan page on Facebook expressed just how much they admire the President.
Another Duterte fan page asked why the funds were only released now under Duterte’s administration.
According to a Rappler report, Duterte made the announcement about the release of the funds to the widows of the soldiers, retired soldiers, and veterans on August 29, during the ceremony for National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“For those who were not paid by the previous administration, for release is P4.7 billion for the payment of the total administrative liability, arrears of widows and deceased World War II veterans and AFP retirees who are 80 years old and above,” said Duterte, to the enthusiastic applause of his audience, the beneficiaries of the funds.
Duterte said that the budget release will be facilitated by the Implementing Rules and Regulations signed by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The President assured that the funds will be “released as soon as possible.”
P3.5 billion of the P4.7 billion will be released to the widows while the rest will go to the retirees.
Aquino approved funds, but was held back by election ban, says Lorenzana
In an ambush interview, Lorenzana told reporters that the funds will be released “immediately” after being processed by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) and the General Headquarters (GHQ).
In a nod to the previous administration, Lorenzana said that the release of the funds was already approved by former President Benigno Aquino III during the latter part of his administration.
“Actually, na-release na ‘yan, okay na ‘yan nung time ni Aquino pero hindi na nila na-release dahil sa ban noong elections,” he said.
Section 261 of Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code enumerates all the election offenses. One of those offenses was the “prohibition against release, disbursement of expenditure of public funds.”
Aquino kept true to his promise of fixing the pension system for cops, soldiers
In a Facebook post, journalist Raissa Robles said that Aquino told her that he would fix the pension system for the police and soldiers before stepping down from the presidency.
She also included the link to an article on her blog, uploaded last July 26, 2015 – “PNoy told me – Soldiers and police pension system to be fixed before he steps down.”
Aquino said that there was no pension system installed for the soldiers and this was what he had been trying to correct during his administration. He added that this problematic pension system was the reason why the “security sector is exactly the same number it was in EDSA,” when the Philippines had half of the population that it has now. This meant requiring the soldiers and cops to do a lot more.