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Filipino vets' advocates in US renew call to push for equity bill

February 27, 2013 6:43pm
Supporters are pushing for the recognition of Filipino veterans in light of the nearing re-introduction of a bill in the US Congress similar to another piece of legislation that seeks to acknowledge the service of Filipino vets, as well as provide them and their families with monthly pensions and other benefits.

Los Angeles-based veterans’ advocate group Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV) cited the renewal of calls by Filipino veterans’ supporters to recognize these men who served the US during World War II.

This was in reaction to the the news that California congresswoman Jackie Speier plans to re-introduce a bill similar to House Resolution 210, or “The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011.

“The new equity bill for 2011 shall include full recognition of service, broadening of the basis of eligibility to all documents proving active service, lifetime monthly pensions for all veterans and widows,” JFAV said in a statement dated Feb. 20 posted on the site of Asian Journal.

The statement noted that despite getting 96 co-sponsors in 2012, the equity bill never got a hearing at the US House of Representatives’ Veterans Committee Affairs.

JFAV said a local group of veterans’ advocates in Hawaii were expected to meet Mazie Hirono, who represents Hawaii in the US Senate, to ask for her help.

Another delegation from New Jersey state was also scheduled to formally present the petitions of Hawaii residents supporting the cause to Hirono’s office in Washington D.C.

“Hawaii traditionally supports equity bill. The 300,000 Filipino residents are all behind providing full recognition to the military heroes after 67 years of denial. The time has come!” said JFAV coordinator Eliza Escano.

The statement noted that the US Congress in 1946 voted nullify the US military service of around 250,000 Filipinos who fought under the United Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) headed by General Douglas Macarthur.

“Out of the 66 nationalities who fought for the US, the Filipinos were singled out not to be recognized,” JFAV said.

“This is a tragic part of American history. The only way to close this chapter is for the Congress to grant complete recognition to these brave soldiers. We will never forgive and forget until justice is served,” Escano said.

However, issues involving Filipino veterans have not only been happening in the US.

Recently, Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario called for the review of the cases of 24,385 Filipino veterans whose applications for lump compensations under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) were disapproved. Gian C. Geronimo/BM, GMA News
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