Forgot your password?
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • default color
  • green color
  • red color

MabuhayRadio

Monday
Mar 18th
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Filipino Americans and their Veterans Continue to Fight Racial Discrimination
Filipino Americans and their Veterans Continue to Fight Racial Discrimination PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
PoorBest 
Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Friday, 16 January 2009 05:50

On January 20, 2009, a new President, an African American named Barack Hussein Obama, will be inaugurated in Washington, DC. To many, the inauguration is proof that racism has ended and that the dreams of equality for all would have by then become a reality. But the fact is that the Filipino-American community continues to feel the pangs of racism at the hands of the United States Congress.


On September 22, 2008, the US Congress House of Representatives passed the SB 1315 or the American Veterans Benefits Enhancement Bill, But they removed the whole section that pertains to Filipino World-War II veterans. They excluded again the Filipinos, in a blatant act of racism in the law.

 

For the second time, the US Congress discriminated against the Filipinos. The first time was on February 18, 1946, when the 79th US Congress removed the benefits and all entitlements for some 250,000 Filipino World-War II veterans by stating “their military services were not deemed active”.

 

By a stroke of a pen, the US government removed the recognition of the wartime services and obliterated the sacrifices of the Filipino nation during World War II.

 

The Senate Bill 1315 can be called the Second Rescission Act of 2008.

 

For 63 years, Filipino veterans suffered discrimination and racism. Of all 66 nationalities that served the American flag during WWII, only the Filipinos were excluded from receiving full benefits and recognition. To add insult to injury, the promise that the United States would give citizenship to the Filipino WWII veterans was fulfilled only in 1990, when the immigration reform bill was passed but still the benefits were not given.

 

The worst insult was that they passed the Senate Bill No. 1315 in 2008 without the Filipino-veterans benefits-and-recognition clauses and instead the Senate dangled an offer of a lump-sum settlement of $15,000 with a Quit claim asking them to not consider them as American veterans. The United States Congress refused to give the tacit recognition that the Filipino veterans are demanding.

 

It does not matter that the Philippines became a battleground in a war not of the Filipino people’s own choosing. The US does not care if the country lost one-million Filipinos who were American nationals during World War II. That the Philippines was one of the most -devastated nations during the war and Manila was almost entirely destroyed during the battle for liberation and it became known as the “Warsaw of the East.”

 

More-than 200,00 individuals of Manila were killed during the battle for the city’s liberation in February to March 1945. Of more than the 250,000 enlisted men who served during the war, only 18,000 Filipino veterans are still alive.

 

The struggle for equality, equity and justice in the United States has gone on for 16 years and counting.

 

More-than 30,000 Filipino veterans went to the United States only to discover that they were not recognized American veterans and only social-security incentives were given to them. Thus the situation was born – the search for justice for veterans and equity movement by the Filipino-American community.

 

By December 7, 1993, the first mass mobilization—led by the December 7 Movement (D7M) and the Alyansa ng Komunidad (AK) by more than 600 veterans—was held at the Federal Building in Westwood Los Angeles. The December 7 Movement was replaced by the “Justice For

the Filipino Veterans (JFAV)” that was formed on December 16, 1998, by the People's CORE,

 

By 1997, the veterans formed the lobby in Washington, DC, led by the ACFV. Since then we gained sizeable and significant victories like SSI, Citizenship, health access, burial benefits and others but we are still marginalized, discriminated and still unrecognized by the US government.

 

The fact is that racism still is the order of the day. Although our veterans were given monuments, markers, burial plots, citations, plaques and honors by public officials they remain just balms to sooth wounded pride and feelings. Still, the promise of equity and justice remains an elusive dream.

 

Up to now, the equity bill and the family reunification bill is still languishing in the US Congress without any hope in sight. For 63 long years, the wrongs have not been corrected and the inequities and injustice to the Filipino nation and the veterans remained.

 

Thus, we continue to pledge to continue to struggle. The “Justice For Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)” vows never to let up until racism and injustice remains. We will fight to uphold the contributions of the Filipinos to the victory in World War II and the veterans to the victory of democracy all over the world.

 

At the same time fulfill their yearnings for justice and equity as well as family reunification. No Justice, No Peace!

 

Recognition, Justice and Equity, NOW! # # #

 



Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2009 05:59
 

Add your comment

Your name:
Your email:
Subject:
Comment (you may use HTML tags here):

Quote of the Day

"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three."--Elayne Boosler