Senate bill in support of Filipino WWII Veterans Equity passes


Contact: Luisa M. Antonio
415 255 2347
No Fellow Warrior Left Behind
San Francisco CA– The US Senate began deliberation on S.1315 on April 22, 2008 and today, with a vote of 96-1, the bill was finally passed. This bill is generally an omnibus bill enhancing benefits to most US veterans. The provision of S.57 was partly incorporated in S. 1315 which will afford the Filipino veterans in the US to receive the same benefits as those of their US veteran counterpart. Those who are residing in the Philippines shall receive a monthly special pension of $300/month if the bill is finally signed into law.
“We would like to thank the leadership of the Senators Inouye and Senator Akaka for making it a possibility for this bill to pass. This is our long awaited desire to be recognized for all our sacrifices during World War II,” said veteran Baldonado, SF Commissioner and VEC board member.
Senator Inouye reminded legislators, in his very emotional speech today ,about the bravery of Filipino soldiers during the Bataan Death March. According to Inouye, “for their courage and contributions during World War II the Filipino veterans deserve to live in dignity and that passing the bill shall restore their honor.”
Calling the Filipino veterans benefit as a costly provision, Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina strongly opposed the provision giving benefits to the Filipino veterans. His amendment was rejected by a majority vote of 56-41.
Senator Akaka (D-HI), Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee had shown full support not only to the Filipino veterans but to all US war veterans. He said t hat the “passage of S. 1315 is about honor and is the right thing to do. This is America’s moral obligation. No fellow warrior shall be left behind.”
The original 200,000 Filipino World War II veterans who fought side by side with the US veterans are now mostly octogenarians and barely 18,000 are alive.  For more than half a century, the Filipino World War II veterans have been seeking for just and equal recognition as US veterans.  The house bill  HR 760  should continue to gain support from legislators in the House with the passage of S. 1315 in Senate.  The San Francisco Veterans Equity Center with other veterans advocacy group shall aggressively continue to work for the passage of these veterans bill until it is finally signed into law. For those who wish to participate in the advocacy, please contact VEC at 415 255. 2347 or email at sfvec2000@yahoo. com.

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