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Oct 02nd
Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Senator Obama's Statement on Philippine Independence Day
Senator Obama's Statement on Philippine Independence Day PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 12 June 2008 15:00

Chicago, IL -- Senator Obama released the following statement today on Philippine Independence Day. "After hundreds of years of struggle for independence, the Filipino people declared their independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, and the first Philippine republic was born.

"The Philippines has been a staunch partner of the United States through the Cold War and the war against terrorism. In part because of our shared history, we cannot ignore the fact that the Philippines continues to confront many difficult challenges, including persistent poverty, natural disasters, and political division. But as a nation rich in natural and human resources, with a proud legacy as the first democracy in Asia, the Philippines also holds great opportunities and hope for the future.  An ongoing challenge of the 21st century will be to ensure that these opportunities to make a better life are open to all.  I look forward to working with the Filipino people and their government, as part of the global community, to combat poverty and generate wealth, build healthy and educated communities, and change the odds for generations to come."


"Particularly important to note on this day is the continuing struggle of Filipino World War II veterans to receive the veterans’ benefits they rightfully deserve.  During World War II, Filipino and American troops fought bravely together under some of the most trying conditions suffered by any forces during that conflict, forging a historic bond between our two nations and their people.  Filipinos displayed great courage alongside American soldiers at Bataan and Corregidor, only to be denied their just benefits by our government. The Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 would honor the service of all U.S. veterans, including these Filipino World War II heroes.  The Senate passed this bill last April.  I urge my colleagues in Congress to take note of this day to honor the heroic service of Filipino World War II veterans by finally turning this important legislation into law.


"On this anniversary, we also must recognize the enormous contributions of generations of Filipino immigrants to building a more vibrant United States of America.  Indeed, more than 60 years after World War II, Filipino-Americans continue to serve brilliantly and bravely as members of our fighting forces.  I grew up in Hawaii, where Filipinos have had an enormous positive impact on the culture and economy.  As dedicated military and civil servants, lawyers and bankers, artists, engineers and entrepreneurs, agricultural and industrial laborers, healthcare providers and customer service workers, caretakers for our elderly and youth, Filipino Americans—4 million strong—have enriched our country, embodied our nation's highest ideals, and reflected the very best that the Philippines has to offer.


"Today, I extend my warm wishes to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the people of the Philippines.  Let us join with Filipinos worldwide and Filipino Americans to celebrate Philippine Independence Day.  Mabuhay!" ###

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Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2008 15:04

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