Quantcast
Latest Stories

FilAms mark Bataan Day; vow to finish fight for WWII vets’ rights

By

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Leaders of the Filipino American community in this city, Philippine Embassy officials, students and supporters of Filipino World War II veterans on Tuesday marked the 71st anniversary of the Fall of Bataan by pledging to continue the fight to negate the effects of the 1946 Rescission Act, which stripped Filipino soldiers of their official status as U.S. military veterans,

Their immediate demand: recognize the claim of more than 24,000 surviving veterans whose service certifications have been rejected by the U.S. Army. A bill providing monetary compensation to eligible veterans was signed into law by Pres. Barack Obama in 2009. But of the 43,000 claims of surviving veterans who applied for benefits under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) Act, only 18,615 were granted.

“The Fall of Bataan is considered one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history,” said Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisa, Jr. “We recognize the injustice done to those who have been denied because of documentary requirements and we will continue to press the relevant US government officials to clarify the procedures in certifying claims and to assist our veterans who are appealing.”

The embassy is calling on the Filipino American community to join a nationwide letter-writing campaign to the White House. “We want to bring attention to the injustice caused by the certification process,” Cuisa added.

In response to public pressure, the White House six months ago formed an interagency task force to examine the more than 4,000 appeals submitted by veterans in the last three years. Their claims had been summarily denied because their names were not on the so-called “Missouri List,” the official 1948 file of those who served in the US Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE).

Celestino Almeda, 96, a World War II veteran who lives in Arlington, Virginia, is among those whose claim was denied. He is calling on Pres. Obama to issue an executive order directing the U.S. Army “to recognize our services as World War II veterans. We have waited and waited for action on our veterans’ recognition problems. All we are asking is for the U.S. government to update its policies that unfairly excluded thousands of deserving comrades who honorably served in the USAFFE.” Almeda is a member of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans (ACFV), one of the national groups that have lobbied for veterans benefits.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, a champion of veterans’ rights, said that he was “troubled by the inaction of the interagency task force.” He has personally called on congressional leaders, like Sen. Maize Hirono of Hawaii, to pass a bill recognizing the legitimate claims of all surviving Filipino veterans.

Filipino American community leaders, supporters, students and Philippine Embassy officials observing the 71st anniversary of the Fall of Bataan with a wreath-laying ceremony on April 9 at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

But with the loss of champions like Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died last year, and Sen. Daniel Akaka, who retired recently, Taguba recognizes that it may be difficult to get another veterans bill through. “That will happen only if our own community is rock solid in putting pressure on Congress.”

Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) recently introduced in the Senate and in the House the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification bills (S.461 and H.R. 966) that would fast-track the reunification of Filipino World War II veterans and their families.

“The brave servicemen who are still with us, now in their eighties and nineties, should not have to wait any longer in order to be reunited with their children,” Hirono said. “As the Senate dives into immigration reform legislation, I will be working very closely with my colleagues to include these types of ideas in the final proposal.”

Given the backlogs affecting Filipino immigration applications, veterans have had to wait for as long as 20 years to reunite with their children. If passed, the fast-track bill will ensure that veterans and their families will be reunited much sooner, rather than later when it’s too late.

Chances for its approval look good because of bipartisan efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform measure.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: civil rights , U.S. legislation , Veterans Affairs , World War II

  • joboni96

    ubos na ang mga nadenggoy
    ni atakbo sa australia makarthur

    hinintay muna ng imperyalistang u.s.
    na pumanaw ang 95% + ng mga beterano

    bago magpapensyon sa mga lumaban
    para sa gerrang imperyalista

    ginenocide na nga ang mga katipunero
    swinitik naman ang mga beterano

    ang mga kolonisadong utak
    palakpak pa rin pati teynga sa imperyalistang u.s.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  2. Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  3. HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  4. Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  5. Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  8. Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  9. Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  10. Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  1. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  2. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  3. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  4. Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  5. 85% of Filipinos love US – survey
  6. 10 US presidents who visited the PH (and what they said)
  7. WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  8. 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  9. 150 Filipino teachers in Maryland to lose jobs, visas
  10. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  1. US to China: We will protect Philippines
  2. Japan mulls no visa rule for Filipinos
  3. DFA grants visa-free privilege to 7 countries
  4. China warned: Don’t try to tow away BRP Sierra Madre
  5. Back home in Manila, and feeling out of place
  6. Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  7. Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  8. China: PH tarnishing Beijing’s international image
  9. What’s inside BRP Sierra Madre?
  10. Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
Advertisement

News

  • Cayetano to DOJ: Bare Napoles’ list of ‘pork’ officials
  • Drunk passenger triggers Bali hijack alert
  • Businesswoman allegedly killed by husband, brother-in-law
  • Roxas suspended from golf club for outburst over P5,000 guest fee
  • SC reschedules oath-taking of new lawyers
  • Sports

  • Guiao fined P100,000 for ‘mongoloid’ comment vs Meralco forward
  • Hawks and Grizzlies revel in home wins
  • Floyd: Manny’s power gone
  • Michael Phelps loses to Lochte in comeback meet
  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • BDO nets P5.5 B in Q1
  • Pacquiao may be 2013 top taxpayer
  • Emperador nets P1.7 B in Q1
  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Corruption not invincible after all
  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • Global Nation

  • Plane lands at Bali airport in suspected hijacking—Indonesia air force
  • Obama lands in Seoul as N. Korea nuclear test fears grow
  • Militant protests vs Obama, US set
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • China welcomes PH apology
  • Marketplace