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Filipino WWII vets to get benefits from RP, US


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#1 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 09 February 2008 - 05:07 PM

Filipino WWII vets to get benefits from RP, US


By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:07:00 02/09/2008


MANILA, Philippines -- After waiting for more than half a century, Filipino veterans who fought side by side with the Americans during World War II will soon be allowed to receive benefits from both the Philippine and the United States governments, according to Philippine Ambassador to Washington Willy Gaa.
In a talk with the Inquirer before he took a Philippine Airlines flight back to Washington on Friday night, Gaa said the Filipino Veterans' Equity Act of 2007 in the US Congress has been set for floor debates both in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Gaa was in the Philippines for a week to host a golf tournament for more than 100 Filipino-Americans in Sherwood in Cavite and Mimosa in Angeles City.
Gaa said that the bills in the US Congress seek to amend existing US legislation so as to recognize the service rendered by Filipino soldiers and members of the Philippine Scouts during World War II and thus make them qualify for benefits under programs administered by the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
"This is the farthest that we have reached in our long road toward equity. Together with our veterans and many Filipino-American groups solidly behind them, we hurdled every obstacle and overcame every challenge to win over the Veterans' Committees of both Houses of the US Congress," Gaa said, adding that previous equity bills did not even reach the sub-committee level.
The Senate bill was earlier blocked twice by Senator Larry Craig of Idaho when presented for unanimous consent.
But Gaa described this as a "minor setback," saying the Philippine government was addressing the concerns raised by Craig and a few US senators who wanted the veterans to continue receiving their P5,000 monthly pension from the Philippine government once they start receive theirs from the US government.
Gaa said the proposed Senate Bill 142 filed by Senator Richard Gordon in the Philippine Senate will amend a veterans law here to allow Filipino veterans currently residing in the country to receive pensions from both Manila and Washington.
The current law, Republic Act No. 6948 also known as "An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and Their Dependents," forfeits pension given by the Philippine government to Filipino veterans once a similar benefit is granted by the US.
Gordon said his Senate Bill 142, having passed in third reading, will now go to the bicameral committee to reconcile it with the House version.
He said the amendment would allow veterans residing in the country to receive their pensions from both Manila and Washington.
The bill will benefit more than half of the estimated 16,000 surviving World War II veterans or their surviving spouses residing in the Philippines.
Gaa said the imminent enactment of Gordon's proposed bill came at the right time, especially since Washington may soon be inclined to pass similar legislation.
Gaa said that retired Army Major General Delfin Lorenzana, Manila's envoy on veterans' affairs, also expressed optimism that the Equity Bill will finally become law.
He said the proposed legislation, which he said will give veterans in the Philippines some $200 to $375 monthly, will be endorsed in Capitol Hill soon.
The pension proposals in the US Congress are as follows: veterans with dependents -- $700 a month in the House version and $375 a month in the Senate version; veterans without dependents -- $500 a month in the House version and $300 a month in the Senate version; widows of veterans -- $300 a month in the House version and $200 a month in the Senate version; medical assistance -- $142 a month in both versions.
Gordon said he was pleased with these positive developments in the US Congress, saying it was one step closer to getting the recognition the veterans deserve.
"Perhaps there is nothing more painful than the sight of one who has offered his life to defend his country, wasted away by decades of neglect," he said.
Last year, Gordon met with US Senators Daniel Inouye and Patrick Leahy and Representatives Bob Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, all advocates of the equity bill in the US Congress. All of them assured Gordon the bill would be enacted.

Filipino WWII vets to get benefits from RP, US - INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#2 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 03:04 AM

I have known that they have been fighting for this over the years. Its great to see that they may finally get the Government recognition they deserve :).
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#3 Skipper

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:31 AM

At last! This is really good news for those brave veterans . Too bad only a few of them are left after so many years.

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#4 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 05:55 PM

Provide veteran benefits to Filipinos in their twilight years

THE ISSUE

Sen. Daniel Akaka is proposing veterans' benefits for Filipinos who fought under U.S. command in World War II.
Legislation that would extend veterans benefits to Filipinos who fought under U.S. command during World War II is meeting Republican resistance in the Senate. Opponents are distorting history ostensibly to assure more health care for veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sen. Richard Burr, ranking Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee, has been blocking Senate consideration of a veterans funding bill that includes $24 million Philippine residents during the first year. Burr introduced his own version of the bill excluding Philippine residents as beneficiaries.
Burr said in a floor speech last week that Americans "have done a tremendous job of supporting people who have fought with us in battle, and the Filipinos are no different." In fact, those Filipinos are very different, and to suggest otherwise twists history.
The Philippines were under U.S. colonial rule when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, although they had been promised independence in 1946. Unlike allied troops who fought alongside Americans in Europe and Africa, thousands of Filipinos were inducted directly into the U.S. armed forces and served under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised U.S. veteran benefits to the Philippine soldiers, but Congress reneged on the promise when the Philippines gained independence. Congress partially remedied that five years ago by extending the same federal health care given to American veterans to 7,000 Filipinos living in the United States, including 2,000 in Hawaii.
Those who have remained in the Philippines, now in their 80s or 90s, were left out. They were estimated to number 18,000 a year ago. A bill introduced by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka would correct that omission in the little time remaining.
Burr fails to recognize the Filipino soldiers' role during World War II, saying that Akaka's proposal "takes money from American veterans and sends it to the Philippines to create a special pension for noncitizen, nonresident Filipino veterans." Actually, they were U.S. veterans after the war and entitled to veteran benefits until Congress reneged.
Japan invaded the Philippines to defeat the U.S. occupational forces that it considered in its way in its drive to the Dutch East Indies, notes retired Major Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, head of veterans affairs at the Philippines' Washington embassy.
"Some historians have argued that if the Philippines then had not been a colony of the U.S., it could have been easily bypassed by Japan in its southward drive," Lorenzana wrote to the Senate committee's GOP leadership. "Because of the vagaries of history, we will never know for sure, but the fact is, Thailand, a country not under a colonial rule, was not invaded."

Provide veteran benefits to Filipinos in their twilight years | starbulletin.com | Editorial | /2008/02/19/
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#5 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 05:14 PM

It seems that some do want to forget the past and the contributions of the ones who help win the war.

WWII-vet senator defends Filipino pensions
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Apr 23, 2008 12:02:51 EDT

In a fierce Senate debate over pensions to World War II Filipino veterans still living in those islands, one of the strongest advocates for the idea is Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska — one of five World War II veterans still serving in the Senate.
“I do not get excited too many times on this floor,” said Stevens, who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II flying transport aircraft in China. “This bill excites me.”
Stevens was referring to S 1315, the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act, which would provide about $221 million for special pensions to Filipinos of $3,600 a year for single veterans and $4,500 for married veterans who served with, or in support of, U.S. forces but who have no service-connected disability.
Work on the bill has dragged on for months because of opposition, mostly from Republicans, to the idea of spending money on pensions for Filipino veterans when the money could be used for programs or benefits for U.S. citizens.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, ranking Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee who is leading the charge against the pensions, said he has “profound respect for the World War II service by Filipino veterans” but does not think such payments are “the right priority in time of war when the needs of our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are so great.”
But Stevens leapt to defend the bill as a way to keep promises made to Filipino veterans after World War II by giving them a pension that is one-third of what they would have received if they moved to the U.S. and became citizens — which, he noted, is a right they had available to them.
“We are talking about honor, the honor of the United States,” Stevens said.
After World War II, the old Veterans Administration initially recognized Filipino veterans, but the new law was changed in 1946 to provide full benefits only to those who came to the U.S., Stevens said.
In a plea for support Tuesday night, Stevens said he spoke on behalf of himself and the four other World War II veterans still in the Senate who remember the contribution of Filipino troops.
“I hope the Senate will listen to the five of us because we are united,” he said. “We say this is a wrong that has to be rectified.”
The Senate’s other World War II veterans are Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, Democrats of Hawaii; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; and John Warner, R-Va.
Inouye, chairman of the Senate defense appropriations panel, received the Medal of Honor for his service as an Army second lieutenant. Lautenberg and Akaka, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, also served in the Army in World War II. Warner served in the Navy.
The Senate is considering amendments to the benefits bill, including one by Burr that would remove the pensions for Filipino veterans and spend the $221 million on benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Senate leaders hope to complete work on the bill by the end of the week.

WWII-vet senator defends Filipino pensions - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#6 Falcon Jun

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 12:29 PM

The weekly news magazine I work for will be having an article about this. I'll post it as soon as we wrap up all the stories related to this for a clearer picture.

#7 acker

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 09:59 PM

It's about time.

#8 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 10:07 PM

Senate OKs benefits for Filipino veterans

The measure would fulfill a promise to those drafted to fight Japan during WWII

By B.J. Reyes
bjreyes@starbulletin.com

Thousands of Filipino veterans who fought alongside U.S. forces in their country during World War II would receive a special pension and other benefits under legislation passed yesterday by the U.S. Senate.
The Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act was passed by a vote of 96-1, after Senate Republicans unsuccessfully tried to strip the bill of the provisions for the Filipino veterans.
Senators voted 56-41 to keep the benefits for Filipinos, most of whom are in their 80s. Seven Republicans joined the Democrats to defeat the amendment.
"I commend my colleagues for supporting those veterans who stood with us," said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who fought to include and then keep the benefits for Filipino veterans.
Akaka's committee passed the bill in August, but it was stalled by Republicans who objected to the benefits for Filipinos.
Sen. Richard Burr, the ranking Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee, argued the benefits would be too costly, would support veterans living abroad who have no service-related disability and come at the expense of U.S. veterans who should be given higher priority.
The special pension, about $300 a month for a single veteran, would place some veterans at 1,400 percent above the poverty line in the Philippines, whereas pensions for U.S. veterans place them about 10 percent above the poverty line in America, said Burr, R-N.C.
"We respect and we're grateful for the brave Filipino fighters," Burr said. "But this is about today, not yesterday. It's about the needs of our veterans.
"It's not about broken promises; it's about recognizing priorities."
Roughly 120,000 Filipinos were drafted in 1941 to serve alongside U.S. forces in defending the Philippines -- an American commonwealth at the time -- during World War II. Those Filipinos were promised the same veterans benefits as American servicemen, but Congress rescinded the pledge in 1946, when the Philippines gained independence.
Though Filipinos who served directly in the U.S. armed forces and those who now live in the United States qualify for most programs administered by the secretary of veterans affairs, many still seek the full benefits that they say were promised to them, including health care, pensions and survivor and burial benefits.
The Philippine government estimates there are about 18,000 veterans living in that country who would benefit from the bill.
The measure, S 1315, now goes to the House for consideration.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, commended his Senate colleagues for their work. "This bill starts to undo a wrong -- a dark stain on American history -- against the Filipino veterans who fought side-by-side U.S. troops against the Japanese empire nearly 70 years ago," Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, said in a statement.

Senate OKs benefits for Filipino veterans | starbulletin.com | News | /2008/04/25/
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#9 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 05:38 PM

World War II Filipino veterans on the verge of getting full U.S. military benefits

By Ken McLaughlin
Mercury News
Article Launched: 05/16/2008 05:57:19 PM PDT

The old warriors are frail and stooped, and most of their comrades in arms are dead.
But the Filipino veterans of World War II - all in their 80s and 90s - are still fighting to rectify a snub from six decades ago, when President Truman went back on a congressional promise to make Filipino soldiers U.S. citizens with full military benefits.
Now, as Memorial Day approaches, the House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a bill giving the Filipino soldiers roughly the same benefits as U.S. veterans.
"We really need to do it now because we're losing 10 Filipino veterans a day," said Sarah Gonzalez of San Jose, a daughter of a Filipino vet who is helping the vets lobby Congress. "They want justice before they die."
Of the 250,000 Filipino vets of World War II, about 18,000 are still alive - 6,000 in the U.S. About 30,000 came here in the early 90s after President George H.W. Bush signed a bill granting them instant citizenship. About 2,000 settled in the Bay Area.
In the Philippines, they believed that citizenship meant that they could live out their years in pride on military pensions, said Leon Agda, 82, of San Jose, a former guerrilla who once narrowly escaped execution by the Japanese.Instead, Agda and virtually all of his fellow veterans wound up on Supplemental Security Income, a welfare program for the elderly and the disabled. "I shed my blood for liberty, democracy and America and I ended up receiving this thing they call welfare," said Dominador Valdez of San Jose, another former guerrilla. "We were dishonored."
The vets' quest for parity stems from President Roosevelt's decision in July 1941 to draft 140,000 soldiers of the Philippines, then an American colony. A year later, Congress passed a law allowing Filipino soldiers to become U.S. citizens with full military benefits.
But in 1946, after Filipino soldiers fought and died side-by-side with U.S. troops under the American flag, President Harry Truman signed two bills denying them citizenship as well as most veterans' benefits. The bills were post-war cost-saving measures that Truman said he regretted.
Congress recently put a bill aimed at addressing the historical double-cross on its front-burner. In late April, the Senate by a vote of 96-1 passed a vets bill containing a Filipino parity provision after defeating a Republican-led amendment that would have eliminated from the bill pensions for 12,000 vets in the Philippines who did not sustain combat-related injuries.
The bill would give the Filipino vets a Veterans Administration pension of $900 a month if they live in the U.S., $300 plus VA health care if they live in the Philippines.
Some lawmakers say the equity bill now stands a good chance of passing because the cost is relatively low. And because the vets are dying so quickly, the costs should rapidly drop every year.
But Eric Lachica, executive director of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, attributes Congress' renewed interest in the bill mostly to the Democratic takeover of Congress a year and a half ago. That meant that key supporters of the bill took over committees that dispense veterans benefits.
Some lawmakers say the "equity bill" is the moral equivalent of the 1988 act signed by President Reagan giving an apology and compensation to Japanese-Americans interned during the Second World War.
"We went back on our word to the Filipino veterans and shamed ourselves as a country and as a Congress," said Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell, who was put into an internment camp as an infant. "It's really an outrage.
The parity provision for Filipino vets is tucked in a broader bill improving housing and other benefits for all veterans. The bill, SB 1315 by Senate Democrat Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, has the full backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, who has told Honda, chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and other key supporters to round up 60 GOP votes to make sure the House vote is veto proof.
The Bush administration has expressed concerns about the cost of the parity provisions, but the president has not said whether he would sign or veto the bill. But supporters say it would cost no more than $30 million a year. In the late '90s, when a lot more World War II vets were alive, the price tag was about $800 million annually.
A concerted push to pass a parity bill began about two decades ago. And supporters have had incremental successes - notably the 1990 law that made the Filipino vets citizens. Other bills granted the vets burial and VA benefits.
But the victories were bittersweet, reminding the vets that they were "second-class veterans," Lachica said.
Rick Rocamora, a documentary photographer who lives in Oakland, was initially shocked by their war stories. As a schoolboy in the Philippines he had heard more about Gen. Douglas MacArthur's "I shall return" promise after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor than about the heroism of his countrymen.
At citizenship ceremonies, Rocamora said, they waved the Stars and Stripes and sang "God Bless America." They wrote home about how they had "finally made it," Rocamora said. But they never wrote about the way they really lived.
Most of the vets were jammed into small apartments in San Francisco's Tenderloin, Oakland's Fruitvale district and other gritty urban neighborhoods.In 1993, Rocamora found one group of vets in Richmond being abused by a Filipino-American businessman who put six or seven vets in each bedroom in one of his properties. One vet was chained to a bedpost and fed dog food.
About 4,000 discouraged vets returned to the Philippines. But others hoped they could bring at least some members of their families here. But because they were on welfare, they were ineligible to sponsor relatives.
Getting a VA pension instead of SSI would make a huge difference to former guerrilla Avelino Elido, 86, and his wife, Juana, 84. The couple, who live in an East San Jose senior complex, could sponsor their youngest son, a dentist, to emigrate here from the Philippines.
"We really need our son here to take care of us before we die," Juana Elido said.
Rep. Honda praises the vets for their patience. "I've never heard them say an angry word, but I can also sense them saying: 'When will you finally make this happen?' " Honda said. "Still, they are proud, and they still wear their uniforms and medals. Their spirit has not diminished over time."

World War II Filipino veterans on the verge of getting full U.S. military benefits - San Jose Mercury News
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#10 Falcon Jun

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 07:29 AM

The weekly news magazine I work for will be having an article about this. I'll post it as soon as we wrap up all the stories related to this for a clearer picture.


I've been a remiss for not posting this earlier as promised but JC sure kept track on the issue. Good job JC.

Philippine Graphic - Frontpage

raised hopes, dashed dreams:
correcting an injustice to filipino veterans
by fil v. elefante

The passing of US Senate Bill 1315 raised the hopes of the few thousand surviving Filipino veterans of World War II that they will finally receive their long overdue pension benefits. However, many of these veterans, who are mostly in their 80s and 90s, might not live to see their dream of getting their benefits fulfilled.

Posted Image



Better late than never. This was the general sentiment of many Filipino veterans upon learning that the US Senate passed Senate Bill 1315, which provides a pension for Filipinos who served under the US military during World War II. Out of the roughly 250,000 Filipinos who were under US military command, only 18,000 are still alive.

The bill, known as the "Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007," was passed (96-1) despite the objections of some Republicans and US President George Bush. The lone holdout was Senator David Vitter (Louisiana-Republican).




Contested provision
The Republicans who opposed the inclusion of the pension provision for Filipino veterans in the bill claimed the $221 million would be better spent on US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This legislation would correct an injustice," countered US Sen. Daniel Akaka (Democrat-Hawaii), who sponsored the bill. Under the contested provision of the bill, an estimated total of 18,000 Filipino veterans whose names appear in the Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster (RRGR) in Missouri would be eligible to receive roughly $300 monthly pension. Those who are single would receive $300, married veterans would get $375, while $200 would go to widows of veterans. About 12,000 of the veterans in the RRGR, which is also known as the Missouri List, live in the Philippines. Filipino veterans from World War II were stripped of their eligibility for US pensions after the US Congress passed the US Rescission Act of 1946.

Those opposed to giving pension benefits to Filipino veterans justified their position by saying that these veterans don’t need an additional pension because they are already receiving one from the Philippine government.

Akaka, who is also chair of the Senate veterans affairs committee, staunchly defended the provision, saying Filipinos "fought bravely under the US military command, helping us win the war only to lose their veteran status by an Act of Congress."

US Sen. Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina), a ranking Senate veterans committee member, attempted to amend the bill by proposing that the money should be spent on new housing, education and burial assistance for American veterans. In a press release from his office, Burr said the money would be better used for modifying the automobiles and homes of disabled American veterans. Under Burr’s provision, instead of giving the $221 million to Filipino veterans, the money would be better used for the following needs:

• To help severely disabled veterans modify their home to better accommodate their disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible bathrooms. Burr’s amendment increases this benefit by 10% and indexes future benefits to the residential cost-of-construction index, so payments keep up with inflation automatically.

• Increase auto grants for severely disabled veterans from $11,000 to $15,000. Like the housing benefit, this program helps veterans by giving them mobility to help them live independently and provides an automatic annual increase in benefits.

• Provide an automatic annual increase in burial benefits for the families of veterans who die due to service or service-related injury.

Burr also noted that the US government never made a promise to give financial benefits to Filipinos who were ordered to serve in the US military during the 2nd World War. Burr’s allies said the pension plan for Filipino veterans were "too generous." This forced the senators to discuss which group of veterans are more deserving of US aid at this time.

"The creation of a new foreign pension benefit is unacceptable when the needs of our disabled veterans are so great," Burr said. "My amendment is a fair compromise that honors the service of Filipino veterans but ensures veterans from the United States remain our top priority. I respect the Filipinos who served during World War II, but this special pension is the wrong priority at the wrong time. We must focus on the needs of American veterans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan," Burr added. At one point, Burr pointed out that it was foolish to "take money away from helping veterans of the war on terror and instead send the money overseas."





"A matter of honor"
US Sen. Daniel Inouye (Democrat-Hawaii), who supported the bill, answered Burr’s challenge: "It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of honor. It’s the American thing to do. If they (Filipinos) were willing to stand in harm’s way for us, the least we can do is to recognize this and to salute them as fellow Americans," he said.

After the debate, Burr’s amendment failed, 56-41. In the end, Burr ended up voting for the bill’s approval, which is intended to expand benefits for US military veterans.

Inouye said the inclusion of the pension provision in the bill is "the first step in removing a more than 60-year-old stain on our national honor."

The next step would be for the bill to hurdle the US House of Representatives. The supporters of the pension plan believe the measure would pass the House easily.

In Manila, Malacañang welcomed the passage in the US Senate of the veterans’ benefits enhancement bill and hoped to see its enactment into law very soon. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the bill has been pending before the US Congress for a long time and a lot of Filipino war veterans are eagerly awaiting its passage.

In the Philippines, Department of National Defense officials assured veterans that Filipino World War II veterans will continue to receive their monthly P5,000 pension from the government even if the US Congress restores their pension benefits. Officials explained that continuing the local monthly pension was a key requirement of US lawmakers in passing the contested pension provision.

If the US bill is signed into law, Filipino veterans must secure certificates from the US Army Archives in St. Louis, Missouri, which maintains the Missouri list. Those who don’t have the certificate would not receive the US pension. (With AP report)

#11 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 06:23 PM

$198M For Filipino WW II Veterans In U.S. Stimulus Package
Inquirer.net, News Report, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Posted: Feb 07, 2009

HONOLULU --- The Senate version of the economic stimulus bill being debated in Congress includes $198M in payments to Filipinos who fought for the United States during World War II.

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye had arranged for the long-awaited compensation to be included in the proposed measure that is expected to cost up to $1 trillion.

About 200,000 Filipinos served alongside US soldiers to defend the Philippines from the 1941 Japanese invasion and resist the subsequent Japanese occupation.

The Philippines was a US colony at the time, and the US military assured Filipinos they could apply for US citizenship and qualify for full US veterans’ benefits if they served.

After the war, however, the US Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946, stripping Filipino veterans of their status as US veterans. This denied Filipinos the benefits they were promised.

The veterans have campaigned for decades to win these benefits back. They’ve had some victories, including when Congress passed a bill allowing thousands to immigrate and become US citizens. Burial rights in national cemeteries came a decade later.

Solemn Promise Revoked

According to Inouye, about 18,000 veterans are still alive in the Philippines and the United States. Many live in Hawaii and California.

The stimulus bill would award a one-time payment of $15,000 to veterans who are now American citizens and $9,000 to non-citizens.

Inouye, who fought with the US Army in Italy during World War II, said the measure would “close a dark chapter in the history of this country.

“This nation made a solemn promise, and with hardly a hearing, we revoked it,” Inouye said in a statement. “This episode is a blight upon the character of the United States, and it must be cleansed.”

During the campaign, President Barack Obama voiced support for awarding benefits to the veterans.

$198M For Filipino WW II Veterans In U.S. Stimulus Package - NAM
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#12 texson66

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:34 AM

In no way should this item be part of the Porkus Maximus economic stimulus bill! They should be honored with a separate bill, not an earmark!

I agree that the PI vets who served under US command should get some benefits, but NOT as part of the horrific bill that is threatening to give away nearly a trillion dollars with very little economic recovery impact.

Give the people who work and pay taxes a three month Federal tax holiday and then you'll see real economic stimulation!
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#13 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:11 AM

I agree. They do need to be recognized. But not as an addition to something that is supposed to "Stimulate" the economy. It is far past time that what service they did for the US and the Phillipines be rewarded
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#14 T.Walpole

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:45 AM

It's a shame how the Democrats in Congress are handling this. They've tainted the measure by tying it to this disaster of a bill.

#15 brndirt1

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 10:41 PM

It's a shame how the Democrats in Congress are handling this. They've tainted the measure by tying it to this disaster of a bill.


Oh please, this has nothing to do with this Congress. A bill of this sort has been hanging fire in Congress and various administrations since 1955. Also, I wonder if certain sections of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 may have muddied the water somewhat concerning the benefits for Filipino veterans from WW2, and remember that the Philippines was a semi-autonomous "protectorate", neither a territory nor a colony of the USA.

The U.S. Congress approved the modified Howes-Cutting Bill as the Tydings-McDuffie Act by 1934 which established the Philippines as a commonwealth and provided for independence with a twelve-year transitional period under a Filipino executive. During this time, the U.S. government would maintain military and naval bases in the islands, Philippine court decisions were subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and tariffs would be imposed on Philippine sugar, coconut oil, and fibers in excess of specific quotas. The Philippine legislature unanimously, but reluctantly, approved the measure on May 1, 1934. The invasion by the Japanese slowed up but didn't derail the process.

Sec.2. a

(7) The debts, liabilities, and obligations of the present Philippine Government, its provinces, municipalities, and instrumentalities, valid and subsisting at the time of the adoption of the constitution, shall be assumed and paid by the new government.
Sec.2. b

(4) That the Government of the Philippine Islands, on becoming independent of the United States, will assume all continuing obligations assumed by the United States under the treaty of peace with Spain ceding said Philippine Islands to the United States.

What should have superseded all of that 1934 legalize however was the oath taken by the Filipinos in 1941; "I, (insert name here), do solemnly swear...that I will bear true faith and allegiance...to the United States of America...that I will serve them honestly and faithfully...against all their enemies whomsoever...and I will obey the orders...of the President of the United States...And the orders of the officers appointed over me...according to the rules and Articles of War."

With this pledge, approximately a quarter of a million Filipino men joined the U.S. Armed Forces in the months before and in the days just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This latest bill wasn’t just "hatched" out of the blue, remember that this present bill (or others like it) for Equity Payment to Filipino veterans has been pending before the Congress since 1955!

These were all attempts to rescind or at least modify The Rescission Act of 1946, passed by Congress and signed by President Truman as Public Law 70-301, i.e. The Rescission Act of 1946. It stated that the service of Filipinos "..shall not be deemed to be or to have been service in the military or national forces of the United States or any component thereof or any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges or benefits."

Now this was as a rider to the 1946 US Veterans code, only concerning Filipinos, and which denied all benefits to Filipino veterans except for those who died or were wounded during the war, and in a left-handed fashion referred back to the old Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, and debt assumptions.

What makes this even less understandable is this; "There can be no question," said a former World War I artillery captain named Harry Truman, "but that the Philippine veteran is entitled to benefits bearing a reasonable relation to those received by the American veteran, with whom he fought side by side." Of course he made that statement before he was President.

Now I am not making excuses for the American reneging on a promise to the Filipinos here, but people tend to forget that the US was falling into a short-lived recession directly after the war (1946-47), and the budget was stretched way beyond balanced. The Lend-Lease debts were still outstanding and being re-negotiated, and they had to be modified just so the entire allied structure didn’t fall into bankruptcy and start thinking communism might be a better choice. Also, the servicemen had to get back to work or go to college, the work force had to be re-directed to non-war production. The woes of the Filipino veterans might just have been a bit under the radar in the big picture of the time.

And like it or not this might also have been a short-sighted rider to exclude Filipino veterans from the G.I. Bill of Rights concerning low-interest loans and college educations.

Last year in April (2008), in anticipation of some sort of bill finally being signed into law; a Philippine Act (Republic Act 9499) was passed and signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo so that Filipino World War II veterans would to continue receiving their P5,000 old-age pension from the Philippine government even if they get additional benefits once/if the Filipino Veterans Equity bill is passed by the US Congress and signed by the US President, whomever it might have been prophesied to have been in April of 2008.

This has been attached to other bills since 1955 in attempts to get it passed, but I agree that this is a bad time to slap it onto a bill just because the Congress figures it can get it to fly this time. A separte bill later might pass easily once our own economy gets out of the dumper the massive deregulations of the financial sector has placed it in.

Edited by brndirt1, 09 February 2009 - 10:50 PM.
spacing

Happy Trails,
Clint.

#16 T.Walpole

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:08 AM

Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't know all the background.

#17 Falcon Jun

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:50 AM

Oh please, this has nothing to do with this Congress. A bill of this sort has been hanging fire in Congress and various administrations since 1955. Also, I wonder if certain sections of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 may have muddied the water somewhat concerning the benefits for Filipino veterans from WW2, and remember that the Philippines was a semi-autonomous "protectorate", neither a territory nor a colony of the USA.

The U.S. Congress approved the modified Howes-Cutting Bill as the Tydings-McDuffie Act by 1934 which established the Philippines as a commonwealth and provided for independence with a twelve-year transitional period under a Filipino executive. During this time, the U.S. government would maintain military and naval bases in the islands, Philippine court decisions were subject to review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and tariffs would be imposed on Philippine sugar, coconut oil, and fibers in excess of specific quotas. The Philippine legislature unanimously, but reluctantly, approved the measure on May 1, 1934. The invasion by the Japanese slowed up but didn't derail the process.

Sec.2. a

(7) The debts, liabilities, and obligations of the present Philippine Government, its provinces, municipalities, and instrumentalities, valid and subsisting at the time of the adoption of the constitution, shall be assumed and paid by the new government.
Sec.2. b

(4) That the Government of the Philippine Islands, on becoming independent of the United States, will assume all continuing obligations assumed by the United States under the treaty of peace with Spain ceding said Philippine Islands to the United States.

What should have superseded all of that 1934 legalize however was the oath taken by the Filipinos in 1941; "I, (insert name here), do solemnly swear...that I will bear true faith and allegiance...to the United States of America...that I will serve them honestly and faithfully...against all their enemies whomsoever...and I will obey the orders...of the President of the United States...And the orders of the officers appointed over me...according to the rules and Articles of War."

With this pledge, approximately a quarter of a million Filipino men joined the U.S. Armed Forces in the months before and in the days just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This latest bill wasn’t just "hatched" out of the blue, remember that this present bill (or others like it) for Equity Payment to Filipino veterans has been pending before the Congress since 1955!

These were all attempts to rescind or at least modify The Rescission Act of 1946, passed by Congress and signed by President Truman as Public Law 70-301, i.e. The Rescission Act of 1946. It stated that the service of Filipinos "..shall not be deemed to be or to have been service in the military or national forces of the United States or any component thereof or any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges or benefits."

Now this was as a rider to the 1946 US Veterans code, only concerning Filipinos, and which denied all benefits to Filipino veterans except for those who died or were wounded during the war, and in a left-handed fashion referred back to the old Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, and debt assumptions.

What makes this even less understandable is this; "There can be no question," said a former World War I artillery captain named Harry Truman, "but that the Philippine veteran is entitled to benefits bearing a reasonable relation to those received by the American veteran, with whom he fought side by side." Of course he made that statement before he was President.

Now I am not making excuses for the American reneging on a promise to the Filipinos here, but people tend to forget that the US was falling into a short-lived recession directly after the war (1946-47), and the budget was stretched way beyond balanced. The Lend-Lease debts were still outstanding and being re-negotiated, and they had to be modified just so the entire allied structure didn’t fall into bankruptcy and start thinking communism might be a better choice. Also, the servicemen had to get back to work or go to college, the work force had to be re-directed to non-war production. The woes of the Filipino veterans might just have been a bit under the radar in the big picture of the time.

And like it or not this might also have been a short-sighted rider to exclude Filipino veterans from the G.I. Bill of Rights concerning low-interest loans and college educations.

Last year in April (2008), in anticipation of some sort of bill finally being signed into law; a Philippine Act (Republic Act 9499) was passed and signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo so that Filipino World War II veterans would to continue receiving their P5,000 old-age pension from the Philippine government even if they get additional benefits once/if the Filipino Veterans Equity bill is passed by the US Congress and signed by the US President, whomever it might have been prophesied to have been in April of 2008.

This has been attached to other bills since 1955 in attempts to get it passed, but I agree that this is a bad time to slap it onto a bill just because the Congress figures it can get it to fly this time. A separate bill later might pass easily once our own economy gets out of the dumper the massive deregulations of the financial sector has placed it in.


Well said. The problem has been lingering for decades and it's a shame that as time marches on, the ranks of these veterans get fewer and fewer.
That veterans benefits bill enacted by the Philippine legislature came about because American legislators said they would only support the US bill for Filipino veterans benefits if the Philippines has a counterpart law. The Arroyo administration and Philippine legislature did their part and so far, the Filipino veterans are still waiting for something concrete from the US Congress. I have a feeling that there are some out there who intend to drag out the process so that the overall payments would be cheaper in the long run.
That's about it,
Fil

#18 hfxmitter

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:33 AM

I've been a remiss for not posting this earlier as promised but JC sure kept track on the issue. Good job JC.

Philippine Graphic - Frontpage

raised hopes, dashed dreams:
correcting an injustice to filipino veterans
by fil v. elefante

The passing of US Senate Bill 1315 raised the hopes of the few thousand surviving Filipino veterans of World War II that they will finally receive their long overdue pension benefits. However, many of these veterans, who are mostly in their 80s and 90s, might not live to see their dream of getting their benefits fulfilled.

Posted Image



Better late than never. This was the general sentiment of many Filipino veterans upon learning that the US Senate passed Senate Bill 1315, which provides a pension for Filipinos who served under the US military during World War II. Out of the roughly 250,000 Filipinos who were under US military command, only 18,000 are still alive.

The bill, known as the "Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007," was passed (96-1) despite the objections of some Republicans and US President George Bush. The lone holdout was Senator David Vitter (Louisiana-Republican).




Contested provision
The Republicans who opposed the inclusion of the pension provision for Filipino veterans in the bill claimed the $221 million would be better spent on US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This legislation would correct an injustice," countered US Sen. Daniel Akaka (Democrat-Hawaii), who sponsored the bill. Under the contested provision of the bill, an estimated total of 18,000 Filipino veterans whose names appear in the Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster (RRGR) in Missouri would be eligible to receive roughly $300 monthly pension. Those who are single would receive $300, married veterans would get $375, while $200 would go to widows of veterans. About 12,000 of the veterans in the RRGR, which is also known as the Missouri List, live in the Philippines. Filipino veterans from World War II were stripped of their eligibility for US pensions after the US Congress passed the US Rescission Act of 1946.

Those opposed to giving pension benefits to Filipino veterans justified their position by saying that these veterans don’t need an additional pension because they are already receiving one from the Philippine government.

Akaka, who is also chair of the Senate veterans affairs committee, staunchly defended the provision, saying Filipinos "fought bravely under the US military command, helping us win the war only to lose their veteran status by an Act of Congress."

US Sen. Richard Burr (Republican-North Carolina), a ranking Senate veterans committee member, attempted to amend the bill by proposing that the money should be spent on new housing, education and burial assistance for American veterans. In a press release from his office, Burr said the money would be better used for modifying the automobiles and homes of disabled American veterans. Under Burr’s provision, instead of giving the $221 million to Filipino veterans, the money would be better used for the following needs:

• To help severely disabled veterans modify their home to better accommodate their disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible bathrooms. Burr’s amendment increases this benefit by 10% and indexes future benefits to the residential cost-of-construction index, so payments keep up with inflation automatically.

• Increase auto grants for severely disabled veterans from $11,000 to $15,000. Like the housing benefit, this program helps veterans by giving them mobility to help them live independently and provides an automatic annual increase in benefits.

• Provide an automatic annual increase in burial benefits for the families of veterans who die due to service or service-related injury.

Burr also noted that the US government never made a promise to give financial benefits to Filipinos who were ordered to serve in the US military during the 2nd World War. Burr’s allies said the pension plan for Filipino veterans were "too generous." This forced the senators to discuss which group of veterans are more deserving of US aid at this time.

"The creation of a new foreign pension benefit is unacceptable when the needs of our disabled veterans are so great," Burr said. "My amendment is a fair compromise that honors the service of Filipino veterans but ensures veterans from the United States remain our top priority. I respect the Filipinos who served during World War II, but this special pension is the wrong priority at the wrong time. We must focus on the needs of American veterans, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan," Burr added. At one point, Burr pointed out that it was foolish to "take money away from helping veterans of the war on terror and instead send the money overseas."





"A matter of honor"
US Sen. Daniel Inouye (Democrat-Hawaii), who supported the bill, answered Burr’s challenge: "It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of honor. It’s the American thing to do. If they (Filipinos) were willing to stand in harm’s way for us, the least we can do is to recognize this and to salute them as fellow Americans," he said.

After the debate, Burr’s amendment failed, 56-41. In the end, Burr ended up voting for the bill’s approval, which is intended to expand benefits for US military veterans.

Inouye said the inclusion of the pension provision in the bill is "the first step in removing a more than 60-year-old stain on our national honor."

The next step would be for the bill to hurdle the US House of Representatives. The supporters of the pension plan believe the measure would pass the House easily.

In Manila, Malacañang welcomed the passage in the US Senate of the veterans’ benefits enhancement bill and hoped to see its enactment into law very soon. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said the bill has been pending before the US Congress for a long time and a lot of Filipino war veterans are eagerly awaiting its passage.

In the Philippines, Department of National Defense officials assured veterans that Filipino World War II veterans will continue to receive their monthly P5,000 pension from the government even if the US Congress restores their pension benefits. Officials explained that continuing the local monthly pension was a key requirement of US lawmakers in passing the contested pension provision.

If the US bill is signed into law, Filipino veterans must secure certificates from the US Army Archives in St. Louis, Missouri, which maintains the Missouri list. Those who don’t have the certificate would not receive the US pension. (With AP report)



my comment:
In 1987 my father inlaw went for interview with the VA office in Los Angeles regarding his application for benifits for his service in the US Army during the Japanese operations in Bataan in 1941-1942, he is a death march survivor, part of his claim is about the malaria desease and for the PTSD that he picked up while serving in Bataan, to make a long story short the VA interviewer took advantage of my father inlaw's limited ability to express himself in english and vague understanding of the questions that was asked to him by the interviewer. I have read the letter from the VA to my father inlaw regarding his application and petition for benifits, the reply letter from the VA states that his request was denied because according to the VA interviewer my father in law, during the time of the interview did NOT exhibit any signs of PTSD and that he did not answer the questions regarding his PTSD correctly, i noted earlier that my father inlaw is not that adept with the english language which explains why he was not able to anwer the PTSD questions correctly. His requests for benifit regarding his malaria desease was also denied because according to the interviewer and according to the VA as i have read in the reply letter, the VA insists that my father inlaw "MAY" have picked up or been infected with malaria some time in the early or late 1950s because in the letter, the VA insists that malaria was "INDEMIC" in the Philippines and he could NOT have picked it up during his service in Bataan in 1941-1942 which i strongly disagree with and contest because my mother inlaw told me that after my father inlaw's release from the POW war camp in Capas Tarlac and after he was brought home a few days later he was shaking from chills and accompanied by fever which are symptoms of malaria and she told me that he told her that he was already suffering the same symptoms while in Camp O'Donnel in capas. He has been suffering from malaria since his day of release from Capas Tarlac up to the time of his death in Delano California in 1993. As I have stated above, the VA took advantage of my father inlaw's inability to understand the questions he was being asked by the VA during his interview in 1987. I have read in many HISTORY books published both by Pilipino and American historians and what i have seen on documentaries about the Japanese offensive operations againts Bataan, many of the troops who fought in Bataan whether americans, filipinos and japanese, all came DOWN with MALARIA and dysentery. On top of that most Pilipino veterans who survived Bataan, the death march and Camp O'Donnel whom I have met and talked to both here in the US and in the Philippines CORROBORATES my father inlaw's claim that majority of them if not all came down with MALARIA during the struggle FOR Bataan ON Bataan IN 1941-1942 NOT after the war in the 1950s which I find to very hard to believe and very unacceptable, the VA's denial to my father inlaw's claim for benifits for his life long suffering of malaria. This only further confirms my fear and suspicion that the US VA is trying hard and doing it's best to DENY benifits and entitlements to many Pilipino world war two veterans. I have my own brushes with the US VA since i am a retired US military my self, I have filed several claims with the VA regarding my service in the US Navy and some of my claims have been denied. According to my mother inlaw and my wife, my father inlaw during the course of his entire life in the Philippines in the post liberation years up to the time prior to immigrating to the US, would WAKE UP on some nights yelling and kicking and saying, " the japanese, the japanese troops are coming", sometimes if he does not yell or kick in his sleep, would suddenly sit up in the middle of the night heavy with sweat and trembling and when asked why by my mother inlaw, he would say that he still have reccuring night mares of the death march and the internment at O'Donnel which to me are clear manifestations of his PTSD. Had not it been for his limited understanding of english he could have understood the questions much clearer and would have been able to answer them correctly. As if to add insult to injury, after having read Sen. richard burr's statement, it made me only more disgusted that this republican moron have the nerve to say that paying or giving the Pilipino veterans their long overdue pensions and entitlements a WASTE of money and other unfair decisions and statements he made regarding Pilipino WW2 veterans and saying that the money would better serve present day veterans of iraq and afghanistan and also stating that the bill is so generous only further shows how much "PREFERENTIAL treatment" he has for certain groups of veterans only. Sometimes i wished that the Pilipinos ShOULD have fought FOR and ALONGSIDE the japanese in world war two INSTEAD of for the US if that is how richard burr and those advocates of the wounded warriors association view of the bill that favors Pilipino WW2 veterans specially those who have served in the two phases of the japanese offensive on Bataan and survived the death march and the internement at O'Donnel in Capas. Perhaps the Japanese government gave their WW2 veterans better care, better benifits and above all , the recognition and respect that they deserve.

hfxmitter

Edited by hfxmitter, 22 January 2010 - 06:51 PM.





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