US solons introduce bill recognizing Filipino, Fil-Am war vets
A bill seeking the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers in the United States and the Philippines who fought during World War II was introduced Thursday (Friday, Manila time) at US Congress by a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators.
A press conference announcing the bill’s introduction was held by Senator Mazie Hirono (Democratic-Hawaii) and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Democratic-Hawaii). Other members of the Senate and the House of Representatives were on hand to announce their support for the legislation, including: Senator Tim Kaine (Democratic-Virginia), Representative Joe Heck (Republican-Nevada), and Representative Juan Vargas (Democratic-California).
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Antonio Taguba also spoke at the press conference on behalf of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (FilVetREP). Two veterans, Purple Heart recipient Maj. (Ret.) Jesse Baltazar and Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Remigio Cabarcar attended the event. The bill acknowledges the dedicated service of over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American who fought side-by-side with American soldiers and seeks to collectively award the Congressional Gold Medal to the veterans.
Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. welcomed this development and expressed his hope for the bill to move forward.
“The announcement of this bill is timely as we celebrate Philippine Independence and the friendship between the Philippines and the United States. The 4th of July is the United States’ Independence Day and also (Filipino)-American Friendship Day. Our friendship has deep historical roots, which include fighting side by side in wars for liberation. I am pleased to see this friendship continue to grow and hope that our veterans receive the recognition they deserve,” Cuisia said.
The Congressional Gold Medal is awarded to persons “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipients’ field long after the achievement.”
The award is the US Congress’ highest expression of appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. It is also one of the highest civilian awards in the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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