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Oct 04th
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby A Salute For a Global “Pearl Harbor and Clark Field Day”
A Salute For a Global “Pearl Harbor and Clark Field Day” PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Friday, 07 December 2007 16:52

Dateline Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 7, 2007, as re-issued on Dec. 6, 2015.

By Ms. Lourdes M. Ceballos

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on your calendar should include Clark Air Base memories.  Sixty-seven years ago, the Philippines shared with Hawaii the explosions from Japanese attacks that triggered the Pacific Theatre of World War II.  Today, recording how Filipinos have been serving the cause of freedom and democracy led by the United States is of historical, educational and cultural significance for generations to come. This is why the Unlimited Agency, Inc. is joining a widening circle of organizations in a mission to highlight the contribution that the Asian American community adds to worldwide perceptions. Such awareness of the importance of America’s bases in the Far East is going to guide business investors too, according to Jun Delfin, president of the company.   

The circle of leaders of organizations already radiating information about the brilliance that Clark Air Base has cast on Philippine-US relations include Thelma T. Fuentes of the Philippine Week Committee; Remy Pamintuan, Bagumbayan Association; Sally V. Richmond, Centro Escolar University Alumni Association; Dr. Mauro Larracas, Filipino American Council of Chicago; Rev. Telesforo Yague, former commander of the American Legion Post 509 and minister, Followers of Christ Fellowship; Carmen Estacio, Seniors’ Program, FACC; Severino Villanueva, Bagumbayan Credit Union; Remy Cabagnot, Fil-Am Grandparents Association Chicago; and Lorna Delosantos, Golden Circle Club.

The concept has been included in the press release about the Pearl Harbor Day “Kapehan” or coffee klatch, which is being led by Mrs. Yoly T. Tubalinal, president of the host National Press Club Philippines-USA . The Unlimited Agency is one of the sponsors of this effort of the community media to recognize how much the topic of World War II and its Filipino veterans have preoccupied the Filipino journalists in the U.S.  For the business sector, according again to Jun, “we have to try how we can set up financial safeguards and assistance for persons affected by war time losses.”   

The rationale for the concept is that Clark Field means the United States was and still is a military and economic power in Asia. Considering that Clark Field is located near Subic Naval Base in Zambales, both air and sea environments were being protected at the outbreak of WWII, obviously intended to be deterrents to threats from other Asian nations, specially Japan.

Since Clark Air Base was well fortified in 1941 and  Pearl Harbor seemed then to be an easier early target. Apparently, bombing both Pearl Harbor and Clark Field would help clear the way for Japan’s imperial ambitions to establish their Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. Furthermore, had not Clark Air Base and Pearl Harbor  been attacked by Japan, the United States may not have joined the other Allied nations in time to come to their aid while defending the Far East. Especially England, already fighting in World War II, needed America to come in soon and fight Germany.   

Not only were the Philippine military bases of the United States vital keys to pre-war peace, but post-war, they served as nearby stations for America’s involvement in the wars in Korea and later in Vietnam.

Today the area that used to be known for being home to Clark Air Base is a developing commercial and tourist zone. But the United States is once more building up its resources in other parts of the Philippines, and again, asserting its bonds with the Philippines. This is time to evaluate the history of the military and economic presence of the U.S. in the Philippines, a clear signal that the United States owes recognition, honor and benefits to Filipino veterans of WWII.

Unfortunately, the benefits for the military services rendered by these aging Filipino heroes were revoked in 1946 by the U.S. Congress when it passed the Rescission Act. At present, two Bills are pending in Congress, waiting for approval. These are the House Resolution 760 and Senate Bill 1315 which seek to pay them pensions; and another proposed law, the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Bill which would allow the petitioned members of veterans’ families to have immigrant visas quickly.

For the sake of calling public attention to the plight of the Filipino veterans and to the opportunity for the U.S. to create for itself an image of being fair, by approving the two Bills, the memories that Clark Air Field holds for history is priceless.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 06 December 2015 19:00

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