Viet Nam News
July 27 is observed as the Day of War Invalids and Martyrs. On this occasion, Đào Ngọc Dung, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, speaks to the Vietnam News Agency about the country’s policies for people who have rendered service to the nation.
Peace returned to Việt Nam 42 years ago, but the contributions of some 5,900 people to the nation in the course national liberation and unification have not been officially recognised. Does your ministry plan to solve this problem as quickly as possible so that these people can enjoy the special benefits the nation has granted them?
According to statistics, there are about 28,500 dossiers of people who rendered service to the nation. Most are war martyrs, wounded soldiers and those affected by toxic chemicals along with their immediate kin; and people who joined the young shock force units in the war for national salvation but have not yet enjoyed the Government’s policies.
Among the 28,500 dossiers, some 5,900 need further information in order to be recognised as war martyrs, wounded soldiers or other types of beneficiaries. We, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Public Security have tried our best to solve this problem. But until now we have not been able to find original documentation or anything else testifying to the eligibility. This has tormented us immensely and we consider it a debt which will never be paid if we don’t find a way to solve the problem.
MOLISA has initiated a new idea piloted in the five provinces of Long An, Đà Nẵng, Bắc Kạn, Lai Châu and Thái Bình. We hope to report the lessons learned from the pilot provinces to the National Assembly Standing Committee and the Government and then develop a seven-step procedure to certify people who have met all the criteria for Government benefits. Of course, in implementing the procedures, we consider consultation with the local revolutionary veterans and mass communication outlets a very important step.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Day of War Invalids and Martyrs Day, the MOLISA has requested the Prime Minister to confer the Certificate of Merit on 498 people who had rendered great service to the nation but their personal documents have been lost. Ninety-four of them are war martyrs who died more than 60 years ago. We think this is an occasion for us to show our deep gratitude to those who have laid down their lives for the nation.
Has the MOLISA adopted any measures to prevent the falsifying of documents by war martyrs and invalids to seek profits?
The problem has caused anxiety. Though the number of people who sought such profits illegally only accounted for 0.04 per cent, it has created indignation among the general public.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has instructed the MOLISA to launch an investigation in 29 provinces, cities and five military regions to bring these bad people to court and to return the money to the State budget.
The MOLISA vows to take strong action against these bad people and we hope, with strong support from the general public, any illicit acts to seek profits from the tax payers’ money will be duly punished.
Does MOLISA have any plan to speed up the identification of war martyrs?
Until now, some 300,000 martyrs’ bodies have not been identified, and more than 200,000 others have not been moved to the cemeteries dedicated to them. More recently, the Party Politburo, the Party Secretariat, the Government and the Prime Minister raised this issue, and 21 groups have been established to regroup the war martyrs into cemeteries dedicated to them.
Under the instruction of the Prime Minister, the MOLISA and the Ministry of Information and Communications have joined efforts in developing an information management system of war martyrs’ steles and cemeteries to help their relatives find them.
Meanwhile, the MOLISA has launched a project to establish a gene bank to help define the genes of the war martyrs and that of close relatives. We hope by 2018, the two projects will be completed and be available for use.
Are there any new policies for people who rendered services to the nation?
We have a plan to include Vietnamese nationals who are now residing abroad but contributed their share to the two wars for national liberation on the list of social beneficiaries.
In addition, we also plan to grant the third generation affected by chemical agents through their grandparents who fought in the war and people who participated in the war for national salvation in the period from 1974-75. — VNS