Photo: Lusa

Elderly soldiers forced to pay for transports? Government steps in at 11th hour

A major thumbs down in tabloid Correio da Manhã came today for the defence ministry which was said to be so behind on the subsidy it pays bus companies to allow old soldiers from the colonial wars free transport, that from next month the former fighters will have to pay out of their own pockets.

As one has told the paper: “It’s just another assault on old soldiers who have never been respected and are treated by the State like beggars”.

According to Luís Cabaço Martins, president of national road transport association ANTROP, the State owes “between €5 – €10 million and doesn’t have the right to make social policies on the backs of companies”.

Unpaid bills go back 18 months, said CM, neglecting to explain that this suggests the ‘free pass’ announced with a degree of ‘pomp’ back in 2021 by the Socialist government, has in effect never been honoured.

A request for “a reaction” was sent to the defence minister Helena Carreiras, said the paper, but “as yet no reply”.

Within hours of this controversy biting, the defence ministry appeared to sit up and take notice: “In a statement today, the defence ministry assured that by the end of the week it will regularise payments due to the Institute of Mobility and Transports for the gratuity of bus passes for former combatants”, wrote Lusa this afternoon.

An example of the positive effects of press exposure …

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