R.A. No. 7696, AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SectionS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6948 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS "AN ACT STANDARDIZING AND UPGRADING THE BENEFITS FOR MILITARY VETERANS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS"

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7696
AN ACT AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6948 OTHERWISE KNOWN AS "AN ACT STANDARDIZING AND UPGRADING THE BENEFITS FOR MILITARY VETERANS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS"

Section 1. Section 3 of the Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 3. Eligibility. - Any person who rendered military service in the land, sea or air forces of the Philippines during the revolution against Spain, the Philippine-American War, World War II, including Filipino citizens who served in allied forces in the Philippine territory and foreign nationals who served in Philippine forces or of any recognized or deserving guerrilla organization who took active participation in the resistance movement and/or in the liberation drive against the enemy during World War II, or of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea, or of the Philippine Civic Action Group or Philippine Contingent in Vietnam, who has never heretofore enjoyed educational benefit under Philippine law nor under the United States law, who desires to study; or one direct descendant of a veteran in whose favor he renounces such right; or the surviving spouse or a direct descendant of a deceased veteran in whose favor the same is applied for by the surviving spouse or by the legal guardian shall, upon certification of the Administrator, be admitted to any school, college, university, or institution authorized by the Government, with all school fees, including tuition, matriculation, athletic, library, laboratory, medical, military training, diploma and graduation fees, at the expense of the Government, subject to rules and conditions promulgated by the Administrator."

Section 2. Section 5, Title II of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 5. Pension Rates. - A veteran who is disabled owing to sickness, disease, wounds or injuries sustained in line of duty shall be given a monthly disability pension in accordance with the rates prescribed hereunder, unless he is actually receiving a similar pension for the same disability from other government funds or from the United States Government;

"a) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from ten to thirty per centum (10% - 30%) the monthly pension shall be One thousand pesos (P1,000.00);

"b) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from thirty-one to forty per centum (31% - 40%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand one hundred pesos (P1,100.00);

"c) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from forty-one to fifty per centum (41% - 50%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand two hundred pesos (P1,200.00);

"d) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from fifty-one to sixty per centum (51% - 60%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand three hundred pesos (P1,300.00);

"e) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from sixty-one to seventy per centum (61% - 70%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand hundred pesos (P1,400.00);

"f) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from seventy-one to eighty per centum (71% - 80%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand five hundred pesos (P1,500.00);

"g) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from eighty-one to ninety per centum (81% - 90%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand six hundred pesos (P1,600.00);

"h) If and while the disability is rated anywhere from ninety-one to one hundred per centum (91% - 100%), the monthly pension shall be One thousand seven hundred pesos (P1,700.00): plus Five hundred pesos (P500.00) for the spouse and each unmarried minor children: provided, that a veteran, with or without a service-connected or non-service connected disability, upon reaching the age of seventy (70) is deemed totally disabled with one hundred per centum (100%) rating and shall be entitled to a monthly pension of One thousand seven hundred pesos (P1,700.00) plus Five hundred pesos (P500.00) for the spouse and each unmarried minor children."

Section 3. Section 9 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby repealed and Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 10. Eligibility. - A veteran as defined in section 2(a) of this Act who is at least sixty-five (65) years old shall be paid an old-age pension of One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) monthly for life, unless he is actually receiving a similar pension for the same consideration from other-government funds or from the United States Government: provided, that in the succeeding years starting January, 1995, said One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) monthly old-age pension shall be increased annually by not less than Five hundred pesos (P500) per month until total old-age pension shall be at least Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) per month."

Section 4. Section 13 of the Republic Act No. 6948 is repealed and Section 11 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 11. Pension of Surviving Spouse. - The surviving spouse of a veteran as defined in Section 2(a) of this Act shall, regardless of age, be paid a pension of One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) monthly until he/she remarries or dies, unless he/she is actually receiving a similar pension for the same consideration from other government funds or from the United States government. This pension is separate and distinct from the death pension granted under section 12 of this Act: provided, that in the succeeding years starting January, 1995, said One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) monthly pension shall be increased annually by not less than Five hundred pesos (P500.00) per month until total pension shall be at least Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) per month."

Section 5. Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 12. Eligibility. - For the death of a veteran in line of duty or at any time after honorable discharge or separation from the service as a result of wounds, or injury received or sickness of disease incurred in line of duty or as a consequence of the performance of duty, and of a political prisoner who died in prison or was killed by the enemy armed forces during World War II, the surviving spouse and unmarried minor children or, in default thereof, the parents, except those who for the same reason are actually receiving a similar pension from other government funds or from the United States Government, shall be given a pension of One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) a month for the surviving spouse and One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) a month for each unmarried child until the surviving spouse remarries or dies, and until the minor child dies, marries or reaches the age of eighteen (18), or One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) for each parent with the right of accretion, until they die."

Section 6. Section 18 of Republic Act No. 6948 is repealed and Section 17 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 17. Veterans Wards. - The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office shall enter into agreement with all government hospitals including regional, provincial, district and municipal hospitals for the establishment of veterans wards, with an initial aggregate capacity of at least two thousand (2,000) beds to provide hospitalization and medical care to veterans and dependents: provided, that there will be at least one (1) government hospital with a veterans ward in each province and each city which is not a provincial capital: provided, further, that the hospital where the veteran was confined shall immediately inform the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) accordingly of his confinement, for the latter to immediately remit to said hospital the necessary funds in payment of the confined veteran's expenses for hospitalization and medicines which shall not be less than Two hundred pesos (P200.00): provided, finally, that funds remitted by PVAO to any government hospital for this purpose shall be retained by the hospital and used for its operations in addition to its regularly appropriated funds."

Section 7. Section 20 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 20. Burial Assistance. - Unless the person who defrayed the expenses for the funeral of a deceased veteran is entitled to a similar benefit from the United States Government, he/she shall be given Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) as burial assistance upon application therefore in due form which shall be filed within two (2) years from the death of the veteran concerned."

Section 8. Section 23 of Republic Act No. 6948 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Section 23. Exemption of Pension from Income Tax, Attachment, Levy, Garnishment. - Any pension granted a beneficiary under this Act shall not, wholly or partly, be subject to income tax, attachment, execution, forfeiture, or retention under any legal or equitable proceedings, except for membership dues to the Veterans Federation of the Philippines which, with the beneficiary's consent, shall be deducted and remitted by the Philippines Veterans Affairs Office direct to the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, either while in the possession of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office or any of its officers, while in transit, or already in the hands of the beneficiaries, nor shall any lien of any kind or under any consideration be imposed thereon."

Section 9. Additional Benefits from Local Governments. - Notwithstanding any existing laws, rules and regulations, veterans and their dependents or survivors who receive such benefits under Republic Act No. 6948 may also receive any additional benefits granted by their respective local governments.

Section 10. Funding. - Funds for the purpose of this Act shall be included in the annual general appropriations of the Department of National Defense and such funds required for the initial implementation of benefits adjusted or upgraded under this Act shall be taken from the available savings and funds of the National Government.

Section 11. Repealing Clause. - All existing laws or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Section 12. Effectivity Clause. - This Act shall take effect upon approval.

Approved, April 9, 1994.