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Mar 22nd
Home Columns Dissenting Opinion Party-poofer Surfaces: Jerry Adevoso Waters Down Veterans Package
Party-poofer Surfaces: Jerry Adevoso Waters Down Veterans Package PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Dissenting Opinion
Friday, 20 February 2009 02:04

W hen I wrote “Celebrating the Filipino Veterans” as the United States Congress passed the stimulus package that finally accorded them benefits long denied, I said “There are many now who will crowd to the door to claim credit for this and that contribution of theirs to the success of this fight for justice for our veterans, and that is good provided true . . .” but my blind side did not consider sour grapers that will attempt to water down this historic milestone.


Well, one party-poofer has surfaced.


Philippine Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs Jerry Adevoso could not wait for the celebration to settle. Already he has thrown the following caveats even as the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, had already acknowledged the death of the Rescission Act of 1946 and Gloria Arroyo has already crowned herself for the glory. (Are we dealing with two governments here?)


A SSec Adevoso said: “1. The wordings of the law (Sec. 1002) make it clear that the American legislators consider the $15,000 or the $9,000 as payment of "damages for human suffering"


“2. The payment, therefore, cannot be considered as a US veterans benefit granted to Filipino veterans


“3. The payment, therefore, cannot be considered as part of the equity package of compensation long sought by our World War II veterans. In truth, equity has not been satisfied or addressed by the US Congress.


“4. Therefore, the Rescission Act of 1946 is still very much in place. The symbolic tearing of the Law is just that – a symbol of what we want, but have not yet obtained in full.”


Well eat your heart out ASSec Adevoso, when are you going to learn to count our blessings?


I am aware of the obstructionism that you as short-lived Veterans Affairs Officer at the Philippine Embassy and General Nanadiego before you, staged because you were not sold to the piecemeal benefits that the veterans were slowly starting to get for the past 19 years since the Naturalization Act of 1990. You wanted to impose into the American reality your stubborn "all or nothing" position.


ASSec Jerry Adevoso, we know you have never been part of this victory. In fact you and your ideological friends tried to derail initiatives peaking towards this package since time immemorial.


You were never part of the veterans becoming American citizens. Amb. Emmanuel Pelaez and Col. Nicanor Jimenez were responsible for that. You were never part of the veterans' subsequent entitlements to social security incentives, medical and burial benefits. The American Coalition for Filipino Veterans was at the helm of those moves. Then they got a tremendous boost when the group of General Lorenzana took over your office in the Embassy. And of course, the veterans themselves led by Messrs. Ganio, Rumingan, Almeda, et al, and the late Tatang Tejada, were in all stages of this lobby. So what were you a part of, ASSec Adevoso?


I really do not care about your unfulfilled technicalities about the Rescission Act, because in the Philippine saying “Aanhin pa ang damo, kung patay na ang kabayo?” (What good is the grass if the horse is already dead.)


For the meantime we will celebrate. I am happy the veterans are getting something substantial. Twenty years ago I said the task was Herculean, I may never see some justice done for them in my lifetime. I am elated I have been proven wrong. As soon as we were able to get the veterans qualify for US citizenship and tens of thousands of them obliged, we formed a critical constituency that was not there before.


I think what broke the back of these greedy lawmakers to give us an inch was the bad image Capitol Hill was getting when people see and media cover these octogenarians and above walk the corridors of Congress. Of late even Lou Dobbs of CNN joined the lobby using his show.


We will also gloss over your impertinence and lack of respect in your tongue-in-cheek thanks-but-no thanks, ASSec Adevoso, as you continued on “Still, we are happy with President Obama and our American legislator friends, and we thank them, for having passed the Fil-Vets payment provision which is an act of compassion and humanitarianism. The Fil-Vets provision furthermore declares in its words that recognition of the Filipino veterans is given, even if this contradicts the words in the Rescission Act. We hope that the US Congress will eventually fix this seeming inconsistency in its laws.”


Thus if you think “there is still a work ahead for our beloved veterans,” go for it. If that is how you now justify why precious Philippine pesos are being spent to pay your salary, good for you. Go ahead and chase your own rainbow. But confine your subtle belittling of this victory that we are now celebrating to your little room.


You also said you will continue to lobby for our veterans to obtain the other non-cash benefits – medical, educational, burial, etc, normally made available by the US government to American veterans. Well I have news for you, none of the Social Security Incentive, the medical, the burial and other benefits that our veterans are receiving as American citizens have been taken away. The lump sum in the stimulus package that they got is over and above all benefits they are now receiving.


As for you, I believe Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ought to be investigating why you are contradicting her stand on this victory that she is claiming a major part of. You ought to be telling her what else you have achieved in your little room besides being the son of acclaimed World War II veteran Terry Magtanggol Adevoso.


Because you have never been part of this stimulus package, others in that snake pit called Malacañang  might come to the inevitable conclusion that you have been excess baggage all along. And it is even pathetic if you remain there and hear from time to time and snickers and whispers as you pass by. # # #

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2009 02:07

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