American Coalition for Filipino Veterans Inc.
|The White House Invites ACFV leaders
|ACFV's Eric Lachica, Pat Ganio, Pres. Bush, Arroyo and spouses May 19, 2003
for Family Reunification
ACFV leaders & members:
Yesterday, we were sad and upset about the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification (FVFR)
as a part of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, S. 1639, being blocked in a procedural battle on the Senate floor
by a bipartisan vote of 53 to 46.
Today, we can remain hopeful because of the previous overwhelming Senate May 24 vote
of 87 to 9 for the Akaka FVFR amendment.
We are confident with the support of 87 senators we can revive the Akaka-Hirono
FVFR amendment as a rider to one of "moving" must pass bills in the near future, as suggested earlier by one of our
Salamat po for your continued support and efforts for equity+family.
Have a great
July 4th holiday!
American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, Inc
San Francisco CA weekly
Despite setback, veterans hopeful for family bill
M. Gerona-Adkins, Jun 20, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "We are disgusted, but we are not losing hope," Art Caleda, president
of the World War II Filipino Veterans organization in Hawaii, told Philippine News, reacting to the
Senate's failure to
pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill last week.
The bipartisan bill was debated on the floor for two weeks
in an effort to accommodate several amendments toward a final Senate vote, but was closed for further discussion last Thursday,
June 7, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada), leaving the bill in limbo.
The bill accommodates an amendment
authored by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) allowing for sons and daughters of naturalized World War II Filipino veterans to be
reunited with them in the United
"We share the disappointment of Senator Akaka, on whom we pin our hopes
for the reunification of our family," the 81-year old veteran, who petitioned his three children and two underage grandchildren
15 years ago to be allowed to join him and his wife Luz in the U.S., added sadly.
Caleda, who is also president of
the 1,500-member WWII FilAm Veterans and Ladies Auxiliary of Hawaii, was with the Intelligence Service Company, 11th Infantry
Regiment, of the U.S. Armed Forces
of the Philippines for the last two years of the effort that led to the capture of Japan's
Bill to Affect 18,000 Family Members
Akaka's bill, the Filipino WWII Veterans Family Reunification
Act, had won an overwhelming 87-9 Senate vote as an amendment to the senate immigration bill on May 24, raising a chorus of
jubilant Filipino American veterans whose children had been waiting in the immigration pipeline.
According to estimates,
there are about 18,000 eligible children and grandchildren to be affected by the bill. The bill, however, will cover only
those family members for whom applications for emigration to the U.S. have been filed and paid for by naturalized Filipino
The reopening of the Senate debate on the immigration bill is expected to take place this week.
veterans, including Caleda and his Hawaii-based compatriots, are also looking at other options.
"We have met with Sen.
Akaka's district office staff, in particular Michael Kitamura, and are looking at the suggestion of pushing the Akaka bill
as part of the equity bill," Caleda said.
More Reactions from Veterans
Other U.S.-based Filipino veterans had
also expressed their joy and expectations at the Akaka bill's inclusion in the emerging Senate
are very happy about the good news," Joe Gonzalez, 82, of Texas, told PN by phone on May 24. "I petitioned my seven children
12 years ago in 1994, and paid the $90 fee for each of them. They are still waiting, and have started to contact me when they
A former president of a FilAm veterans association in Hawaii when he lived there for 11 years, Gonzalez
was among the veterans who came to lobby for the Akaka bill for its successful inclusion in the senate immigration bill that
eventually passed in the previous 109th Congress.
Joaquin Tejada, 80, a D.C.-based veteran member of ACFV who lobbies
in Congress as frequently as his bad legs could stand the walking, also hopes his two daughters could finally be reunited
with him too.
Celestino Almeda, 90, who lives in Virginia and still manages to take the Metro to Congress by himself
despite one un-seeing eye, petitioned for his only son, Reynaldo, two years ago.
"I am waiting for him to join me,"
he said, adding that he paid the current fee of $120 for his application.
These veterans are among the remaining 7,000
Filipino veterans living in the U.S. after many of their naturalized compatriots had chosen to go back to the Philippines.
Of the surviving 18,000 to 19,000 Filipino WWII veterans estimated by the Akaka bill, 13,000 are living in the Philippines.
----- fair use ----------
March 9, 2006
Akaka & Democrats Request $106 Million,
Filipino Veterans Ask for Hearings
- Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the
Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs
Committee, four Democrat senators,
Sen. James Jeffords (Vermont) on the committee,
submitted last week a budget request for $106
for monthly pensions for Filipino WWII
veterans, according to the American Coalition for
Filipino Veterans, a Washington-based
In their March 2, 2006 "Views and Estimates Letter
on the FY07 VA Budget Proposal," to the Senate
Committee, Akaka and the five senators
said, " We believe it is time to provide
non-service connected pension for Filipino
. and request an additional $106 million
for Filipinos who served alongside U.S.
servicemembers during World War II."
Akaka decided to take the lead after he met with
about THIRTY Hawaii based veterans and community
last month. On February 17, he wrote
veteran leader Art Caleda, "I am writing to inform
you of my cosponsorship of S.
146, the Filipino
Veterans Equity Act of 2005 <.> I understand that
my support for Filipino veterans was questioned
the receipt of my letter last year about
the status of S. 146. The letter stated that the
fiscal situation in FY06 would
make enactment of
the bill difficult. I apologize for any
misunderstanding <.> I can assure you of my
support for equity for Filipino
veterans. I was trying to convey the challenges
that we face in trying to enact the
bill given the
fiscal situation and the lack of true
understanding among some of my colleagues about
made by Filipino veterans and their
The four Democrat senators supporting Akaka's
budget request are:
John Rockefeller IV (WVa),
Patty Murray (WA), Barack Obama (IL) and Ken
Salazar (CO). There are eight Republican senators
the VA committee led by their chairman Larry
Previously on February 23, thirteen Democrats in
House Veterans Affairs Committee led by
Ranking Member Rep. Lane Evans (IL) announced
their "Views and Estimates" request
with a $106
million proposed budget for Filipino veterans.
"We are excited about this breakthrough," said
Arcebal, 82, a low-income veteran in Los
Angeles and the ACFV vice president for
membership. "We fought for America
honorably. We deserve a modest pension to fully
recognize our sacrifices," he added. Arcebal was
tortured by Japanese soldiers when he
captured as a Filipino guerrilla in Ilocos Sur,
Philippines when he was gathering
The coalition leaders are campaigning for early
congressional hearings. They are now negotiating
congress members, the VA Department and the
White House to approve the final pension formula
and budget. They are counting
on the crucial
leadership of California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger (R), Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Vista
main sponsor of the Equity bill H.R. 4574
and Virginia Senator George Allen (R), a cosponsor
of S. 146.
December 22, 2005
Schwarzenegger Appeals to Bush,
Rep. Issa Leads Campaign
– On the 64th anniversary World War II, elderly Filipino veterans received early Christmas gifts from
three Republican leaders who will champion their campaign to win full U.S. recognition and VA pensions next year.
December 8, 2005, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote to President Bush to support “the Filipino Veterans
Equity Act (that) would eliminate gaps in coverage … ensure all Filipino veterans receive the same benefits available
to American veterans (and) give these veterans their long overdue recognition and the benefits they deserve.”
December 16, 2005, Rep. Darrell ISSA (R-Vista CA) re-introduced the new "Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2006," The original
cosponsors of H.R. 4574 are: Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista CA), Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon CA), Richard Pombo (R-Stockton
CA), Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GUAM), Thelma Drake (R-Virginia Beach VA), Dan Burton (R-Indianapolis), Neil Abercrombie (D-Honolulu
HI), Bobby Scott (D-Richmond VA), Michael Honda (D-Campbell CA), and Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys CA). 5 Republicans and 6 Democrats.
on Capitol Hill, Issa was thanked by ACFV leaders: Pat Ganio, Fred Diaz and Jose Genito of Jersey City's PAVO. Organization,
Regino Nacua of San Francisco Fil-Am Veterans, Spouses & Families Assn., Manuel Cannu and Dalmacio Chuga of San Diego,
Alberto Bacani of Virginia, Joaquin Tejada and Tomas Culanag of DC and Percival Abu, Embassy veterans officer.
a Vietnam War U.S. Army veteran and a businessman, told ACFV leaders, "I'm positive we can do the second part next year...
We always keep our promises. However, we (congress) don't keep them on time." He is a member of the International Relations
are quickly fading away. Schwarzenegger, Issa and Allen gave us Christmas gifts to fight on," said Alfredo Diaz,
89, New Jersey veteran coordinator of ACFV. Diaz is a former marathon runner, a defender in the Battle for Bataan and escaped
from the Death March in 1942. ACFV also thanked Philippine Ambassador Del Rosario and Gen. Lorenzana of the Embassy's Office
of Veterans Affairs and Rep. Filner for their behind the scenes efforts with Issa.
recent resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Escondido CA), former main sponsor of the Equity bill (H.R. 302), had
placed the bill in limbo. The bill had to be re-introduced by another Republican as main sponsor to proceed in the legislative
Issa also filed a separate House resolution H. Res. 622 to complement Senate Resolution S. Res.
307 introduced by Sen. George Allen (R-VA) that "recognizes and honors the Filipino World War II veterans for defense
of American democracy" that earlier passed on November 10.
the veterans joined the forum of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chaired by Rep. Michael Honda (D-
Campbell CA). They praised the legislators for their commitment to pass their bills in 2006. Ganio publicly thanked Vellie
Dietrich-Hall, commissioner of the White House Initiative on Asian Pacific Americans. Dietrich-Hall, a daughter of a Filipino
a Philippine Embassy reception, the ACFV leaders met with Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo, of Philippine President
Gloria Arroyo, and presented a copy of the U.S. Senate Resolution. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana (ret.), Arroyo’s special
representative, Armando Heredia, executive director of the Natl. Fed. of Fil. Am. Associations (NaFFAA) and Dr. Sonny
Carlota MD of Tennessee joined them.
a December 15 party at the VA headquarters, Bacani met with VA Secretary Jim Nicholson and later delivered a copy of Schwarzenegger's
To win in 2006, we need you to recruit a friend !
RE: CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Aug.
We marked the 64th anniversary of Franklin D.
Roosevelt's (FDR) July 26, 1941 military order
Philippine Commonwealth Army soldiers
into the USAFFE by our July actions.
We had a successful noontime
news conference in
Sacramento to appeal to California Arnold
Schwarzenegger to support our bills in
congress by writing
President Bush just like
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. Our vets led by Jose
Nuega were supported by the Fil-Am Community
Sacramento led by Dr. Fred Aquino DVM. TV Channel
3 News broadcasted the event at 10 PM. Assemblyman
(D-Los Angeles) attended and pledged
to help negotiate with the governor.
Nuega, Aquino, Kathy Pflaum
and Sacramento leaders met with the Governor's aides led by VA Undersecretary Major General (Ret) Brautigan and Dept. of Social
Services Asst. Dep. Director Joseph M. Carlin. They were joined by our San Jose Am. Legion six-vet delegation led by Bernardo
Jasmin and Eddie Arabe. The governor's aides requested current population statistics of Filipino veterans in the state and
more details about the bills: S. 146- HR 302 to review and their proposal to the Schwarzenegger. Follow up
Our hardy Washington-area veterans led by Joaquin
Tejada, Tomas Culanag, Alberto Bacani,
Jesse Baltazar, Angelesio
Tugado, Amadeo Urbano
were joined by our Jersey City Phil. Am. Vets.
Org. (PAVO) leaders led by Jose Genito and Alfredo
at the advanced screening of "The Great
Raid." They were recognized and applauded by 200
members in the audience.
Our vets had morning meetings with the aides of
Rep. Issa and Rep. Cunningham. We stressed our
commitment to win $200 monthly VA
At noon, with the leaders from NJ and the New York
Am. Legion post
led by Pacifico Timbol and Nora
Navida, we had a news event in front of The White
House to appeal to President Bush.
In the afternoon, we met the Senate VA Committee's
majority staff director and benefits aide. Upon
request, they agreed they would ask the VA
Dept. and the Congressional Budget Office to
provide current statistics of
the living Filipino
WWII veterans population and budget estimates for
the proposed $200 pension budget for the committee
consider for the October 1, 2006 fiscal year.
Our vets later met with the aides of NY & NJ
Clinton, Charles Schumer, Frank
Lautenberg and Jon Corzine to ask for their prompt
cosponsorship of S. 146. NO commitments
We ended a hot and humid July 25 Action Day with a
wreathlaying photo opportunity at the Franklin D.
Monument (see photo).
July 28 Thursday:
Tejada, Culanag and Bacani joined former Senator
and presidential candidate
Bob Dole (R- Kansas)
and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in a morning
wreathlaying ceremony at WWII Memorial
fountain with cast of "The Great
Raid" movie. Filipino actor Cesar Montano who
played the role of WWII guerrilla Capt.
Pajota graced the event with Philippine Ambassador
Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John
(R-AZ) chaired the evening premiere of the Miramax
movie at the Uptown movie theater before an 800
"Great movie," Mrs. Clinton told a Philippine STAR
reporter on her way out of the theater. "I hope it
sympathy for Filipino veterans who are
still fighting for their benefits." "We've been
working hard for them and will
continue doing so
until they get what they deserve," she said.
Follow up required on Clinton and McCain since
are apparently running for president in 2008.
July 29, Friday:
The last day of the congressional session until
return on Sept. 5 from their 1-month summer
recess. Senators and congress members can be
reached at their local offices
if they are not on
their family vacations. We only have the month of
September left this year to get cosponsorships.
may be the best time for you to VISIT them to
thank or encourage them to support our bills, if
they have not done so.
Need 3 Republican Governors (Now 1- Lingle)
Need 9 Senators (Now 4: Inouye, Boxer, Cantwell
Need 100 Reps. (Now 61: Cunningham et al)
Need $15K (Raised about $5K ?)
Need publicity (Now
alot: The Great Raid etc.)
BALIK USA BETERANO
I will be in Philippines from Aug. 16 to Sept.4 to
our affiliated leaders there on the
maintenance of the US $500 K grant-in-aid to
Philippine Veterans Memorial Medical
and the launching of the "Balik-USA Beterano"
Our goal is recruit at least 50 US citizen
WWII veteran volunteers by Nov. 1 to help
us in USA by residing in California or with their
these volunteer BalikUSABeteranos
would be fully eligible for full US VA medical,
medicines, and nursing home care if
they reside in
USA. They may be eligible for Supplemental
Security Income ($560 to $700 monthly).
& continued $upport are always
Again, many thanks to our tireless DC leaders,
Christine Dela Rosa
of GWU-PCS, Maurese Owens,
Mitzi Pickard, Bing Branigin and you for a
successful July actions in our nation's capital.
ACFV News Release June 17, 2005
Vets Ask Governor Bush for Equity
TALLAHASSEE, FL - Elderly Filipino World War II
veterans recently got a
boost of support from
their younger comrades in Florida.
Vietnam War-era Filipino U.S. Navy veterans
themselves to persuade Governor Jeb Bush
to back the "Filipino Veterans Equity" pension
bills S. 146 and H.R. 302 in
Four officers of the Filipino American Veterans
Society of Jacksonville (FAVS) led by Art
accompanied Patrick Ganio, a former
defender in the WWII battle in Bataan, to a May 23
meeting with Rocky McPherson,
executive director of the Department of Veterans
Affairs in Tallahassee.
Ganio, 84, the president
of the American Coalition
for Filipino Veterans (ACFV), a national advocacy
group, asked McPherson for his recommendation
the governor. During their hour-long meeting, the
delegation described the importance of the growing
community in the state, now numbering
more than 60,000.
McPherson, a retired Marine colonel, advised the
to send a formal letter to the governor
urging him to write the two Florida senators and
25 members of Congress to cosponsor
"Filipino Veterans Equity" bills with the proposed
annual budget of $22 Million.
He suggested the major
organizations like the American Legion, VFW and
the Disabled American Veterans join their efforts.
acknowledged the courageous contributions of
Filipino WWII veterans and of enlisted Filipinos
service members and their
families in the three
military bases in Jacksonville.
Gandionco, a retired navy engineer, informed
they would be meeting that evening with
influential Northeast Florida Veterans Council to
seek their support.
the end of their appointment, Ganio presented
McPherson with a DVD historical documentary of the
Filipino WWII veterans
struggle to restore their
U.S. veterans status.
Later that evening in Jacksonville, Ganio and ACFV
Lachica gave a 30-minute
presentation to 36-member council presided by a
former Marine, Heywood "Pete" Dowling, acting
council unanimously passed their resolution.
It stated, "the General Assembly of the NORTHEAST
FLORIDA VETERANS COUNCIL,
comprised of delegates
representing 36 veterans organizations, urge
President George W. Bush, Florida Governor Jeb
Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Mel Martinez and
other Florida Congressional Members to support the
bills S. 146 and H.R. 302
and the budget proposal
of $22 Million that would fully restore the U.S.
recognition to WWII Filipino veterans and to
them with honorable VA pensions."
The ACFV has also targeted California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger to win his
this summer. For details, call ACFV at 202
246-1998 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #
ACFV News Release June 6, 2005
We had a hectic Asian American AAPI Heritage Month
schedule to promote
our Equity issue and to
line-up more allies in our equity campaign in
* May 6, Corregidor
Day anniversary: We kicked-off
with a protest of the Japanese Government
"whitewashing" high school textbooks with a
media coverage in Filipino & Japanese
media. Follow-up meetings with the LA, SF, CHG,
and NYC consuls required.
May 8-9, Chicago forum with the American Legion
Post 509 now led by Dr. Crispin Echieverri MD.
Their focus is convincing
Sen. Obama (D-Illinois)
member Senate VA Committee, and Rep. Henry Hyde
(R), chair of the House International Relations
to support Rep. Lane Evans proposal of
$22 Million budget for S. 146 and H.R. 302.
* May 11 Forum at the USVA
with panelists Eddy R. Badrina, Director of the
White House Initiative on Asian American and
Islanders; Edward Chow, Jr., Vice
President of Vietnam Veterans of America and
former DVA official; and Dr. Warren Minami,
of the National Japanese Am. Memorial Foundation
and a member of the Japanese Am. Veterans
executive director of ACFV, I
assured the VA staff and officials of our
continued assertive advocacy. As a grandson
of WWII Filipino
veterans, Badrina expects Pres. Bush would
favorably resolve our veterans issue before he
office in 2008.
* May 17-18 Asian Pacific American Institute for
Congressional Studies conference. Assisted
leader Monty Martinez and Owen Diaz,
Mayor of City of Milan, MI.
* May 21, Delaware presentation at the Filipino
Heritage & Arts Museum event with the
founders Ms. Ditta Camomot and Ms. Mildred
Lombardi with help of the Philadelphia
vets of the
American Legion Alejo Santo Post led by Jimmy
Soriano, Val Ildefonso, Reginaldo Bacordo and
May 22, with Pat Ganio, Sr. and Richard Aquino,
Disabled American Veterans service officer, in
we met the leaders of the
Filipino American Veterans Society (FAVS), and
consulted Dr. Pedro Cruz of the Bataan-Corregidor
(www.bcmf.us) in Kissimee on common
* May 23, with officers of FAVS led by Art
(ret.), we met for an hour with Col.
Rocky McPherson, Governor Jeb Bush's director of
FL. Veterans Affairs in Tallahasee.
* May 23, with Pat Ganio, presented to the North
East Florida Veterans Council
of 34 groups. They
passed a resolution urging President Bush,
Governor Bush, and the Florida representatives in
to support our bills with the $22 M
* May 29, Maj. Jesse Baltazar US Air Force (ret.)
ACFV Virginia was the guest speaker of the
leaders of the Cleveland, Ohio Asian Pacific
* May 29-30 Memorial Day events in Washington with
Vietnam War Fil-Am vets
led by Rudy Torres, US Air
Force (ret.), who rode their motorcycles from
California to participate in the Rolling Thunder
The parents of Ian Manuel, a helicopter
pilot of the US Army who killed in Iraq, were
joined by our WWII vets at the
National Cemetery to honor our fallen heroes.
* May 31, presentation to the officers of the US
Fort Detrick in Maryland. Received a plaque
of appreciation from Col. William Roberts,
Meet your Governor's staff for a Bush letter.
2 .Visit Senators' & Reps' local offices.
3. Join Fil-Am events &
4 .Attend July 24-25 Leaders Summit in DC.
Did you get the latest DVD of our 2005 Bataan
Days news coverage & the "Free Cabanatuan"
A $25 donation will be appreciated.
# # #
ACFV News Release January 14, 2005
Filipino Veterans Fairness Act Reintroduced
WASHINGTON, DC - On the first day of the new 109th
Congress, Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald, a Democrat from Torrance California, reintroduced the "Filipino Veterans
Fairness Act," a bill that would provide Filipino World War II veterans with monthly disability pensions in United States
and in the Philippines as well as educational and employment benefits for their dependents.
her bill as House Resolution H.R. 170 on January 4, 2005. It was a result of her previous years’ meetings with
the leaders of the 35,000 Filipinos in her district and with Philippine Government officials. Recently on November 22, 2004,
the congresswoman met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Los Angeles after the Bush-Arroyo talks in Santiago,
Chile. They discussed the veterans’ issue and other items.
Millender-McDonald is also a key leader of the Philippine-US
Friendship Caucus in Congress. In June 2003, she met with the Philippine Government delegation headed by the House of Representative
VA committee chairman Rep. Tomas Dumpit and Ambassador Del Rosario.
“We welcome the reintroduction of the
Millender-McDonald bill and the other bills that are expected to re-filed by Reps Cunningham and Filner in the House
as well as Senator Inouye in the Senate,” said Patrick Ganio, 83, the president of the American Coalition for Filipino
Veterans, Inc. (ACFV), a Washington DC-based advocacy group of 4,000 members. “We hope these bills will be the catalysts
to a new law that restores the U.S. veterans status and provides equitable VA benefits to our living heroes,”
Ganio added, a defender in the Battles in Bataan and Corregidor and a former POW.
The “Fairness bill” was originally filed
on May 6, 2003 and provides veteran benefits to the Filipino veterans who fought side by side with American soldiers during
World War II. In addition to providing desperately needed monthly disability benefits, the bill calls for home loan assistance
for U.S. based veterans, educational assistance for their U.S. and Philippine-based dependents, and employment services for
U.S. based veterans and spouses, as well as health care at the Manila VA Outpatient Clinic.
The bill's key provision provides a VA disability
pension "notwithstanding any other provision of law... at rate of $100 per month" to an estimated 15,000 poor
Philippine-based Filipino veterans.
“With Capitol Hill leaders are now grappling to cut down the federal budget deficit - now at a half-TRILLION
dollars and dealing with the Iraq War and Social Security, we can expect bitter partisan battles between the Republican majority
and the Democrats. According to congressional staff, the legislative prospects of our Filipino veterans bills look very bleak
this year, “ said Eric Lachica, ACFV executive director and a registered advocate in congress.
“Realistically, a Filipino veterans bill can only pass if Bush can be persuaded
to provide the budget line item for it in his Administration request to Congress in February or later,” Lachica emphasized.
H.R.170 may cost at least $22 Million,
Arroyo and Philippine Ambassador Albert Del Rosario recently called upon the Filipino American community leaders to
work as a “team” to pass veterans legislation as a “high priority.” Arroyo last November appointed
retired Maj. General Delfin Lorenzana to be her special presidential representative on veterans affairs in Washington. Earlier
on January 22, 2004, Arroyo made a written request to President Bush for a $22 Million budget for Filipino veterans pensions. The ambassador and Lorenzana are scheduled to meet next
week with Filipino American Bush supporters during the presidential inaugural activities in Washington.
# # #
May 19, 2003 ACFV News Release
White House Invites Two Filipino Veteran
to State Dinner with President Arroyo
WASHINGTON DC - (May 19, 2003) -- The White House
invited two leaders of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans (ACFV) to attend the State Dinner honoring Philippine
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday, May 19.
ACFV president Patrick Ganio, Sr., an 82-year-old
veteran who fought in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942 and a Purple Heart recipient, was recently called by
the White House Office of Social Secretary and informed of the invitation.
Ganio was accompanied by
Eric Lachica, the Washington DC based group's executive director, a son of a WWII veteran and a long-time community organizer.
President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush hosted the formal black tie and Philippine dress dinner in their
residence from 7 PM to 10:45 PM for Mrs. Arroyo, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo and 14 members of her official delegation.
"We are deeply honored by the President and the First Lady inviting us to this historic and prestigious gathering," said Ganio.
"We will redouble our efforts in helping Mrs. Arroyo and President Bush pass legislation in the US Congress and Senate that
will restore official recognition and provide equitable VA benefits to our surviving veterans in the Philippines and in America,"
"We requested Mrs. Arroyo to specifically ask President Bush to support Senate bill S. 68 of
our longtime champion and war hero, Senator Daniel Inouye," according to Eric Lachica of the advocacy organization with 4,000
If S. 68 is made into law, 29,350 (VA new estimate) surviving veterans of the Philippine Commonwealth
Army, recognized guerrillas and New Philippine Scouts may receive medical care and disability pension benefits ($100 monthly
in the Philippines) from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Lachica estimates the bill will cost less than $40 Million
Inouye's bill was a result of previous years of negotiations between the Philippine government's
Joint Executive-Legislative Delegation, ACFV leaders, and US sponsors, led by Sen. Inouye, former congressman Benjamin Gilman
(R-NY) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) on a proportional benefit formula to meet the needs of Philippine-based veterans who face
lower costs of living. Their consensus is that S. 68 is a realistic and equitable proposal that would overcome budgetary and
Veteran leaders from Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Ohio,
New York Jersey City, Philadelphia and other cities attended Sunday's 6:00 PM Filipino American community Arroyo dinner
at the Capital Hilton, and witnessed the Monday's 8:00 AM arrival welcome ceremonies for Arroyo by Bush at the White
House south lawn, and to lobbied on Capitol Hill.
# # #
|U.S. Filipino WW2 vets on the White House South Lawn 5/19/2003