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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Sen. Pimentel Asks PGMA to Include Plight of Filipino War Casualties in Obama Summit
Sen. Pimentel Asks PGMA to Include Plight of Filipino War Casualties in Obama Summit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Monday, 27 July 2009 21:26

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

 

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – Opposition Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. asked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Monday (July 27) to seek the influence of President Barack Obama in pressing the American companies to pay up the insurance coverage of the Filipino civilian workers, who died or were injured in both Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

 

At the same time, the Minority Floor Leader also asked Mrs. Arroyo to get from Mr. Obama “a reasonable yearly quota of the expected 1,000,000 nurses that the US would reportedly need by 2021.”

 

Mr. Pimentel said that if Mrs. Arroyo can get “a quota of 20,000 nurses a year, that would be a great economic bonanza for our nurses and their families.”

 

Editor’s Note: This article written by Mr. Lariosa is actually Part II of our occasional series on the Filipino “Forgotten Warriors,” as taken from the article published on June 21, 2009, in the Los Angeles Times. To read Part I, please click on this link: Filipino “Forgotten Warriors” in Iraq and Afghanistan 

 

T he unsolicited advice was contained in a letter Mr. Pimentel transmitted to Malacanang and furnished to this reporter by Bobby M. Reyes, a Los Angeles, California activist and editor of the website, MabuhayRadio.com.

 

Senator Pimentel was a visitor in Los Angeles last week and Mr. Reyes was able to phone-patch this reporter with the Mindanao senator for a brief interview.

 

Mr. Pimentel also suggested to Mrs. Arroyo that if the United States wants to “help solve the Moro secessionist problem in Muslim Mindanao,” it should do so, by not "going to war there but by providing educational, economic and humanitarian assistance to the Moro peoples.”

 

In an interview with Mr. Pimentel last week with this reporter, Mr. Pimentel also urged Mrs. Arroyo to fill up vacant positions for judges in 18 municipalities in Sulu. He said four regional trial courts in these areas are holding court in Zamboanga. He said economic cost of medicine should also be lowered.

 

Mr. Pimentel said he was in Los Angeles to encourage Overseas Filipinos to register and vote in the 2010 elections.

 

Mr. Reyes also suggested that Mrs. Arroyo include in “talking points” with Mr. Obama the revival of the inclusion of “certain aliens born in the Philippines or Japan, who were fathered by United States citizens as beneficiaries of Public Law 97-359, the Amerasian Immigration Act.”

 

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Reyes acted merely as the Ad-hoc Secretary General of the budding American-Filipino Public Affairs Council (AFPAC). It was actually the AFPAC Interim Overall Chairman Ernie Gange of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who instructed Mr. Reyes to bring into the media limelight again the issue of the Amerasian children. Mr. Lariosa will probably report again the lobbying efforts being undertaken by the AFPAC with Philippine and American national-government leaders about the Amerasian children.

 

S enator Pimentel said the 10 Filipino civilian workers, who have died or were injured in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash last July 19 are being short-changed by their U.S.-based employer, AIM Group, Inc.

 

These workers were identified as Celso Q. Caralde, Ely I. Carino, Ernesto C. De Vega, Manolito C. Hornilla, Leopoldo G. Jimenez, Jr., Mark Joseph C. Mariano, Marvin P. Najera, Rene D. Taboclaon, Ricardo E. Vallejos and Noli M. Vista.

 

“I understand that they were all covered by insurance and that the U.S. government has paid more than $1.5-billion in premiums for the war-zone insurance coverage for the said civilian employees. Individually, the employees were entitled to $300,000.” Mr. Pimentel said.

 

“To the best of my information, the wounded workers and/or the heirs of those killed have applied for the benefits but the insurance companies like the American Insurance Group (AIG) have either rejected the applications or have offered token sums.”

 

Mr. Pimentel added, “In an earlier incident that might be instructive, a Filipino worker, Rey Torres, was killed in Iraq. An American newspaperman, T. Christian Miller wrote in an article published in the Los Angeles Times on June 21, 2009, that the AIG had offered only $22,000 to the surviving heirs of Torres. Mr. Torres, a native of Pampanga, was supposed to receive insurance benefits amounting to at least $300,000. His heirs are contesting the offer through a lawyer but that will cost them a fortune and of course litigation time.

 

 

* Editor's Note: To view the latest update posted by T. Christian Miller, please click on this link: http://www.propublica.org/feature/contractor-care-may-loom-over-obamas-meeting-with-filipino-president-728

 

“Incidentally, as you know, the AIG is the parent company of the Phil-Am Life Insurance Corporation. Phil-Am Life, I am told, is the only wholly owned subsidiary of AIG that did not suffer problems from the recent economic meltdown that hit many a major corporation in the US and in Europe. It might also be pertinent to mention this matter to the US President.”

 

The AIG is also the insurance giant, which U.S. taxpayers bailed out four times to the tune of $170-billion, that Mr. Obama criticized for promising millions in bonuses to executives in the same division that brought AIG to the brink of oblivion. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 

* Editor's Note: Readers may like also to read Mr. Miller’s article, http://www.propublica.org/feature/in-one-filipino-town-workers-injured-in-iraq-depend-on-aig-619 

 

 

JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International

P. O. BOX 805072

CHICAGO IL 60680-4112 U.S.A.

Telefax No. 773.283.5986

Email: lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net

 

  

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 07:55
 
Comments (3)
1 Tuesday, 28 July 2009 07:28
A short note why “Forgotten Warriors” was not used in my letter to President Gloria (already delivered yesterday to Malacanang).

The reason is that our country is not engaged in war against any country – Afghanistan, Iran, or what.

It would be foolhardy for the President to mention the phrase to describe our Filipino workers who are working as civilian employees as “warriors” forgotten or not in foreign wars in which our country is not engaged in.

Those people are merely trying to earn a living under a most perilous situation – of course a sad commentary of the level of poverty our country is in.

Senator Pimentel
(As e-mailed to Bobby Reyes, editor of www.mabuhayradio.com)
2 Tuesday, 18 August 2009 05:24
im a filipino amerasian. born june 1982. illegitimate but acknowledged by my american dad when i was born, he worked in a u.s. military base here in the philippines. did not register me me at the u.s. embassy manila as u.s. citizen before he left that's why i couldn't go to america. ive tried to register by myself with complete documents, proofs like birth certificate and passport of my dad, my authentic birth certificate from nso, but the u.s. embassy consular officer keeps on requiring me documents which are not really required. they're confusing me. that's why i pulled out all my documents and not to pursue my case anymore with a broken heart. i didnt pay anything. but you know the feeling of being scrutinized. the treatment is not fair. hopefully president barack obama would help us, philippines amerasians, including japan. please amend the amerasian law. we are still hoping and praying it would happen. i really wish to be with my dad, he's 82 years old now. please give us a chance.
3 Tuesday, 18 August 2009 05:28
email me: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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