SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
In its continued efforts to ensure financial security for Filipino veterans especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries chaired by Rep. Junie Cua (1st District, Quirino) resumed Thursday its online discussion on House Bill 6375 and consolidated subsequent amendments to the Charter of the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB).
HB 6375 or the proposed “Philippine Veterans Bank Act of 2020” seeks to reenact the pertinent portions of Republic Act 3518 or the law that created the Philippine Veterans Bank. The bill is authored by Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez (Party-list, TINGOG SINIRANGAN), and Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza (Party-list, TUCP).
In the explanatory note of the bill, the authors cited that the adoption of the amendments as proposed in HB 6375 will boost the future viability of PVB and give tribute to the selfless efforts of the veterans and retired military personnel.
Among the most significant provisions of HB 6375 is the expansion of the definition of “veterans” under the PVB Charter to include those of wars other than World War II, retired military personnel, and their immediate heirs, aligning the Charter with other existing laws.
During the meeting, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Ernesto Carolina said the PVB Board of Trustees must expand to conform to the expanded ownership prescribed in HB 6375. “[It] should be expanded and should be renamed ‘Board of Trustees of Filipino Veterans’ where ‘veterans’ are as defined by Republic Act 6948, as amended by Republic Act 7696 and Republic Act 9396… It should not be ‘Board of Trustees of Veterans of World War II’ anymore but ‘Board of Trustees of Filipino Veterans’ so that all veterans that should benefit under this (proposed) Act shall partake also of the dividends and other profits that will be derived when this Act is enacted into law,” Carolina said.
Carolina added that this aligns with the objective of the bill to solidify the financial position of PVB by opening its doors to other Filipino veterans. “It will be noted that precisely the rationale of this bill is to include all other veterans… There are less than 4,000 World War II veterans remaining. Therefore, the population of new veterans that would come in under this law that would rejuvenate and empower this bank would be the larger segment of the Filipino veterans population. And they should partake now under this bill of the division of the profits,” he said.
Meanwhile, PVB Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Roberto De Ocampo noted that the bill seeks to welcome other veterans into PVB membership without invalidating original intent for the establishment of PVB, which is to honor World War II veterans.
“I think it has always been the sense of the Republic and the sense of Congress to be able to provide a special recognition of the veterans of World War II. And that recognition is precisely why a Philippine Veterans Bank was enacted. Our exercise in this amendment of the Charter is to expand the membership to strengthen the bank but, in so doing, not all of a sudden ignore the veterans of World War II and in a sense put them aside. So we have, in this proposal, kept those aspects of World War II in place so that we don’t give a signal that we are no longer recognizing the efforts that they have done for the Republic all these years, and, of course, their ownership of the Philippine Veterans Bank,” De Ocampo said.