April 29, 2008

"...got the equity bill signed after most of 'em died..."

Los Angeles- The US Senate began deliberation on
S.1315 or the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill 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 and all veterans advocates especially the youth 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 leader Peping Baclig, National JFAV Coordinator.

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."

Republicans Token Opposition

Calling the Filipino veterans benefit as a costly provision, Republican 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.

“Our work has just begun our next target will be the House of Representatives to pass the bill and give justice and equity for the Filipino World War II
veterans” Arturo Garcia. JFAV and People’s CORE
coordinator said.

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.

For those who wish to participate in the advocacy, please contact JFAV at 213-241-0995 or email at jfav_causa@yahoo.com or visit our
blogspot@alliancephilippines.blogspot.com

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