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Jul 09th
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Gordon Bill Amending Veterans' Law Passes Third Reading
Gordon Bill Amending Veterans' Law Passes Third Reading PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Tuesday, 05 February 2008 04:08


Filipino War Veterans to Receive Benefits Both from RP and US Governments


After waiting for more than half a century, Filipino soldiers who fought alongside the Americans during the Second World War will be permitted to receive benefits from both the Philippine and the US governments.

Thanks to Senate Bill 142 (SB142) filed by Senator Richard J. Gordon, a veterans’ law will be amended to allow Filipino vets currently residing in the country to receive their pensions from both Manila and Washington. The bill will benefit more than half of the estimated 16,000 surviving World War II veterans or their surviving spouses residing in the Philippines.

Having passed on third reading, the proposed bill will amend Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6948 also known as "An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and Their Dependents."

The current law forfeits pension given by the Philippine government to Filipino vets once a similar benefit is granted by the US.

Senator Gordon's SB 142 will also set Filipino vets' allowances at P5,000 per month helping them live more comfortably during the twilight of their years.

The imminent enactment of Senator Gordon's proposed bill comes at the right time, especially since Washington may soon be inclined to pass similar legislation intended to benefit veterans.

Manila's special envoy on veteran's affairs expressed optimism that the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill will finally become law.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana said that the proposed legislation—giving vets in the Philippines some $200 to $375 monthly—will be endorsed in Capitol Hill soon.

Senator Gordon expressed the same sentiments upon hearing this piece of good news.

"Finally, our World War II veterans are one step closer to getting the recognition they deserve and will be allowed to live the remainder of their years with a greater sense of dignity," Gordon said. "Perhaps there is nothing more painful than the sight of one who has offered his life to defend his country, wasted away by decades of neglect. Senate Bill 142 will ensure that our World War II veterans finally receive what is due them—though sadly, this will not restore what they sacrificed in our country's fight for freedom."

Last year Gordon met with US Senators Daniel Inouye and Patrick Leahy and Representatives Bob Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, all advocates of the equity bill in the US Congress, and they assured Gordon the bill would be enacted.

In his meeting with American senators Gordon called on the Filipino American community in the US to exhibit political strength and make the community presence felt by their respective U.S. legislators on the issue regarding the struggle of Filipino World War II Veterans to achieve equity for their heroism as they fought side by side with American troops in World War II for freedom and democracy.

Gordon likewise stressed to Rep. Filner that it is time for America to act decisively on this issue as this is not merely an issue of cost and money, but it is more an issue that delves into matters of honor and values among longstanding allies and friends. As a beacon for justice and equality, America must take this opportunity to live up to the standards and values it has set for itself.

"This legislation means that the long overdue recognition of the important contribution of the Filipinos during the war will finally be given to them," he said. "This is a fight for the dignity and respect that our veterans truly deserves. They served without hesitation when they were called upon by then US President Roosevelt and fought side by side with the Americans fighting for a common cause—the defeat of totalitarianism and the victory of democracy," explained Gordon.

The Philippine Senator said about 142,000 Filipinos fought during the war, 60,000 of whom suffered through the infamous Death March in Bataan together with 10,000 Americans.

About 7,000 Filipino non-service connected (non-combat injuries) WWII veterans in the US and some 13,000 counterparts in the Philippines are expected to benefit from this bill once it becomes a law. # # # (From a press release by the Philippine Embassy, Washington, DC.)

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 February 2008 09:37

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