Norma Miranda, PVAO chief in Davao City, said they expect the number of Filipino veterans who will come to their office to swell on Feb. 24, 25 and 26 when they start accepting applications for the claims.
"We expect this small office to be full of veterans when we start processing their claims," Miranda said.
She said there are still 1,000 to 1,500 surviving World War II veterans in Southwestern Mindanao region, 740 of whom are in Davao City.
Miranda said their office is one of three PVAO regional offices in Mindanao that have been authorized by the US Embassy to accept claims from Filipino war veterans.
The two other two PVAO offices that are authorized to receive applications for claims on February 24 to 26 are located inside Camp Navarro, headquarters of the Armed Forces Southern Command in Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City; and Camp Edilberto Evangelista, headquarters of the Army Fourth Infantry Division, in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.
"Despite their age, the veterans will be here because this is the only office in the region that is authorized to process their claims. They will be accompanied by their relatives," Miranda said.
Miranda said Filipino veterans should bring two forms of identification such as passport, driver's license, Senior Citizen ID, Bureau of Post ID, Voter's ID, VA claim number, Service Number, PVAO claim number, PVAO Pension bank account number, and US passport if they are US citizens.
For an individual to be eligible for payment, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must receive the individual’s claim no later than February 16, 2010, which is one year from the date U.S. President Barack Obama signed the historic legislation.
In its February 18 announcement posted at the US Embassy in Manila’s website, the US Department of Veterans Affairs said that they “encourage all Filipino WW II veterans to apply in person at one of the locations listed above on the dates indicated. If a veteran is unable to appear in person, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 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,” it said.
US President Barack Obama signed into law the $787-billion stimulus package bill, which included the $198-million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which “formally recognizes the service of Filipino WWII veterans as active military service in the Armed Forces.”
Under the law, Filipino veterans who are US citizens are entitled to get $15,000 and those who reside in the Philippines, $9,000 or roughly P423,000. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)