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Jun 09th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako The Dishonor of Having to Beg
The Dishonor of Having to Beg PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 06:56

W hat follows came from the September 26th  issue of "This Week" magazine in its "Best Columns: International" section and I just want to share it with y'all.  This condensed version, almost like to the letter, echoes my thoughts on the matter and mirrors several of my published writings, e-mails (to friends who became enemies and non-friends who became allies) and letters that I have sent to many members of U.S. Congress. 

It was written by Jose Montelibano of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.  Enjoy.

QUOTE: Filipinos have lost their pride, said Jose Montelibano. We have been reduced to begging Washington to give compensation to our World War II veterans.  These men fought alongside Americans "with the liberation forces of Douglas MacArthur" to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines. Yet "America did not consider the sacrifice and courage of Filipino war veterans of equal value to those of their own." 

Six decades after the war, Filipino-Americans have finally succeeded in getting a bill before the U.S. Congress that would authorize payment to surviving Filipino veterans. 

The bill should be dropped!

Such payment would be HUMILIATING, since it would be offered only grudgingly, after a huge lobbying effort, and far too late.  If Filipinos have any pride, they would donate to a veterans' fund themselves.  Just $100 from every Filipino American, plus a smaller sum from everyone in the Philippines, would ensure a comfortable retirement for WWII veterans.  "Perhaps, instead, of BEGGING in the U.S. Congress, we can simply go into self-reflection, chew on our propensity to live in SHAME, and decide whether we wish to go on like this or seek the courage to be honorable . . ."

As reported by my colleague, Romy Marquez, this "claim against the U.S. government" will now be in the form of "lump sum payment" of $15,000 for those FilVets who are now U.S. citizens and $9,000 for non-citizens.  Eighteen thousand of these FilVets are still alive. 


This money will come from the coffers slated for the equipment of U.S. soldiers  now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the care of wounded soldiers coming home from those two war fronts, and for their families.  The American people should NOT allow this to happen, because it's NOT right at all. America should take care of its soldiers and veterans first before those FilVets. And, for heaven's sake, we FilAms, must stop the begging now, please. JJ ###

E ditor’s Note: For the record, this editor wrote on May 17, 2007 (2-0-07), in the Part III of the series on “Reinventing the Filipino Psyche" a similar message as expressed by Jesse Jose and Jose Montelibano. The hyperlink to the article is:

How to Get Back the Dignity of the Filipino (Part3)


This editor wrote in particular some suggested steps on how the Filipino people can get back their dignity, or at least part of it: QUOTE.


2.0 A wish for Filipino leaders to stop aging veterans who served with the United States Armed Forces during World War II from migrating to the United States. We – scions of Filipino veterans – have been telling people that we find it repugnant for a government like the Philippine Establishment to be telling its veterans and senior people to go migrate to the United States, so that the American government can pay them welfare checks and take care of their medical needs.

3.0 We suggest respectfully that the Arroyo Administration tell now President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress that if the American government cannot take care properly of the American veterans of Filipino ancestry, then to let them go back to their homeland, where the Filipino government will exhaust its resources, with the help of the veterans' kin, to take good care – Filipino style – of the veterans' remaining years on Earth. For it will be better that these aging veterans to die in their original abode, surrounded by loved ones, rather than die alone as "second-class American citizens" in a dark corner of an equally-aging apartment somewhere in the United States. The message to drive home, pun intended, is for the Filipino-American veteran to die with dignity at the ancestral abode even if he were as poor as before he came to the United States to become an American citizen. UNQUOTE.

Here are the links to the complete series on the “Filipino Psyche,” some of which were published by Filipino-American publications and websites in the late 1990s:

Reinventing the Filipino Psyche (Part One)


Restoring the Dignity of the Filipino (Part Two)


How to Get Back the Dignity of the Filipino (Part3)

The Filipino: The Master and Lord of Suffering (Psyche, Part4)


Revisiting "The Religion of Blame" (Filipino Psyche, Part5)


RP Must End Its Participation in the "Alms Race" (Part 6 of "Filipino Psyche" Series)


Many Filipinos Suffer from Amnesia and Alzheimer Pandemic Diseases? (“Psyche” Series’ Part7)


Filipinos Are Indeed the Italians of Asia (Part 8 of the "Filipino Psyche" Series)



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2008 06:57

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