13 October 2012

Review of Former Combatants Legislation and Establishment of Former Combatants in all thirteen Districts

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao
ETLJB  13 October 2012 - The Prime Minster Xanana Gusmao has promised that his Government will revise the Law on Former Combatants for National Liberation as well as the establishment of Combatants’ Council in all thirteen Districts to identify those who actively contributed in the struggle for Timor-Leste’s independence.

“This way it will ensure those who till now have not yet been paid their ceteran’s subsidy will be identified and paid their share, just like the others,” said PM Gusmao in Parliament.

The PM assured Government would continue to support veterans and provide scholarships to their children, especially those least advantaged.

Member of Parliament (MP) Manuel da Costa Pereira praised the plan because it would ensure all veterans would be treated the same.

Veteran Paulo Lopes was disappointed because he had contributed to the resistance for many years, fighting in Same, however his name was not on the list produced by the Veteran’s Commission.

“I fought in the jungle for seven years with my comrades, yet they have all received their subsidies, I am the only one who has not. I believe this is unfair,” lamented Lopes.

He was grateful Government decided to establish the Commission for Combatants in all Districts, because it would assure him his dues.

Radio Timor-Leste also reported on 9 October 2012, that the President, Taur Matan Ruak, himself a veteran of the struggle for independence, had expressed concerns about the Veterans Law and had called on the Parliament to amend it.  The Second Deputy-President of the National Parliament, Aderito Hugo da Costa, said that some articles of the law did not benefit all clandestine front members and veterans who were entitled to their rights.

Sources: The Dili Weekly, Radio Timor-Leste

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