Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes says an estimated 22,000 former rebel combatants now living in poverty will finally get long-overdue health care, pensions and other benefits.
The approximately $24.5-million program will give $50-per month pensions to survivors over 70 from the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
Funes ran on the ticket of the front, which turned into a political party following 1992 peace accords that ended the 12-year civil war. Funes did not fight.
Army soldiers who fought the rebels have pensions. About 25,000 rebel fighters are still alive and 87 percent live in poverty. Funes spoke Friday at a gathering of rebel veterans days before the Jan. 16 anniversary of the war's end.