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Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Bataan Day Marked in Chicago
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Saturday, 10 April 2010 20:16

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

 

Bataan Day Marked in Chicago

 

C HICAGO (JGLi) – Even if the number of Filipino-American veterans dwindles, the City of Chicago will still continue to celebrate the Bataan Death March, according to William Schmutz, director and community liaison of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs of Chicago.

 

Mr. Schmutz made the pledge Friday, April 9, before reading the proclamation of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as Bataan Day in Chicago, commemorating the 68th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan also known as a Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan).

 

Only about a dozen Filipino-American veterans attended the commemoration at the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge at the State Street and Wacker Drive in the heart of Chicago.

 

They were Francisco Obina, Sr., Commander, Fil Am Post 509; Emilio Garcera, adjutant of Fil Am Post 509; and members, Isabelo Capollo, Emilio Hidalgo, Ricardo Caronongan, Galo Deguilio, Jose Juachon, Juan Millo Phil, Emilio Cosio, Dominador Ramirez, Paul Mogul, Brigido Tueres and Conrado Ablao.

 

As numerous veterans are dying by the year, it is very likely that in the next ten to 15 years perhaps no veterans will be on hand to commemorate the event anymore.

 

Outgoing Consul General Blesila C. Cabrera thanked the City of Chicago for encouraging the residents to remember the heroism of Filipino and American soldiers who gave up to the well-equipped and numerous Japanese Imperial forces during one of the fiercest battles of World War II in the Philippines and for keeping the tradition alive.

 

The event started with the presentation of colors and the singing of the national anthems of the United States and the Philippines led by New Philippine Scout veteran Emilio Garcera, who was 15 years when war broke out.

 

The event also featured floral offering and wreath laying at the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge.

 

Another Bataan veteran, Mr. Emilio Hidalgo, delivered the salutation remarks. Other veterans, among them, Jose Juachon, a sergeant during the Bataan Death March, also thanked President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress for finally granting them the token lump sum benefit of $15,000 for their war services. Veterans, who are not United States citizens, only received $9,000 one-time payment.

 

Others have suggested that because of the small amount of benefit the Filipino veterans received, the U.S. Congress should amend the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that extended the benefits to them that a letter of apology from the President of the United States be given to each Filipino veteran. The first President Bush enclosed a letter of apology to each Japanese interned in the U.S. during WWII upon payment of $20,000 lump sum compensation to prevent them from aiding their Japanese motherland.

 

The U.S. government initially approved full benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill for the Filipino veterans before the end of the war. But after the war in 1946, the U.S. Congress, instead, passed the Rescission Acts that reduced the funding from $2 to $3-billion to $200-million to rehabilitate the infrastructures destroyed in the Philippines during the war. The veterans never received any compensation for their war services.

 

Under the G.I. Bill, children receive the benefits when the husband or wife of a veteran has died. This is another amendment that veterans want to be introduced to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act so their children can receive their benefits if the veterans and their espouses have died before receiving the benefits.

 

Others who attended the event were Consuls Orantes Castro and Roberto T. Bernardo, Angeles Carandang, National Federation of Filipino-American Associations chairman, Illinois chapter; Estrella Alamar, Filipino-American Historical Society of Chicago; Norma Manankil, Circulo Capampangan and Virgilio Baluyot, Bataan Association of the Midwest. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 

 © opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.

 

(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)



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Last Updated on Saturday, 29 May 2010 10:37
 

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