Thank you for holding this early hearing on the Equity bill H.R. 760 for Filipino World War
Never in the history of our long quest for full
recognition has a hearing been scheduled within two weeks after its introduction.
We owe this to the Honorable Bob FILNER, our
undaunted and tireless champion in the House of Representatives. He and I were arrested along with 12
of my comrades for civil disobedience when we chained ourselves in front of the White House in July
Sadly, we were unable to convince the Clinton
Administration to support our Equity bill.
I am honored to present the APPEAL of my comrades.
Like all my comrades, each of us has a personal story to tell. I’ll cite my brief story.
During World War II, I was a guerrilla intelligence
officer. I was caught and severely tortured by Japanese soldiers as a spy. I was sentenced
for decapitation. Luckily for me, during a rainstorm at night, I was able to
In 1987, I became a new U.S. permanent resident.
At that time, I had a painful dental problem, I sought treatment at the Los Angeles VA clinic.
I was terribly shocked when I was told my service
in the U.S. Army Forces, was by law, DEEMED NOT “ACTIVE SERVICE” for the purposes of VA benefits.
I concluded that the United States whom I served
loyally and risked my life, did me an injustice. I felt DISCRIMINATED against. This DENIAL of my benefits was a result of
the Rescission Act of February 18, 1946 – sixty years ago. This law was enacted over the objections of President Harry Truman.
Before this law, Filipino veterans were recognized as American
veterans and entitled to benefits.
Today, I expect many credible testimonies will
be presented. I join this panel because of my duty to speak on behalf of my comrades who are elderly, disabled and poor.
restore FULL U.S. Government recognition and win equitable V.A. benefits.
We believe that by passing the “Filipino
Veterans Equity Act,” or the realistic bills of our sponsors, we can finally
overcome the discriminatory effects of the “Rescission Act.”
We estimate that 4,000 Filipino veterans in
the U.S. 10,000 in the Philippines may benefit if this bill is passed.
Mr. Chairman, These are my three REQUESTS to
PASS the authorizing language of the EQUITY BILL, H.R. 760 - with strong BI-PARTISAN support from your Committee.
OBTAIN an estimated budget item of AT LEAST $18 MILLION from the Appropriation Committees with the support of
President Bush and VA Secretary Nicholson, that provides an equitable VA MONTHLY pension of at least $200 for us low-income
CREATE a TASK FORCE of representatives from the HVA Committee, the VA Secretary, the Philippine Ambassador and
the leaders of key veteran groups.
The TASK FORCE should determine within 45 days
the accurate number of living Filipino WWII veterans in the U.S. and in the Philippines, ASSESS their economic and health
needs and recommend a realistic BUDGET.
We must SOLVE this historical travesty NOW.
Let me close by quoting President Truman on February 20, 1946 when he objected to the “Rescission Act, “ “I
consider it a moral OBLIGATION of the United States to look after the welfare of the Filipino veterans.”
Thank you. I will be glad to ANSWER questions.