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A Lesson in Community Empowerment:

by Arturo P. Garcia/JFAV Monday, Nov. 26, 2007 at 9:38 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.co 213-241-0906 1610 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Last November 11,2007, more than eight hundred youth together with the Filipino World War II Veterans marched through the streets of Historic Filipinotown to protest the 61 years of injustice and inequities. The 7th Annual Veterans Day march-parade was held by the Justice For Filipino Veterans (JFAV), an alliance of students,youth and veterans groups. The parade was held for the eight straight year and is sponsored by the Office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti.

A Lesson in Community Empowerment:

Why Did The Equity Bill Did Not Pass?

Arturo P. Garcia

Justice for Filipino Veterans (JFAV)

Last November 11,2007, more than eight hundred youth together with the Filipino World War II Veterans marched through the streets of Historic Filipinotown to protest the 61 years of injustice and inequities.

The 7th Annual Veterans Day march-parade was held by the Justice For Filipino Veterans (JFAV), an alliance of students,youth and veterans groups. The parade was held for the eight straight year and is sponsored by the Office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti.

In San Francisco, American Coalition For Filipino Veteran (ACFV) headed by Eric Lachica with many veterans staked out at the residence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi to no avail. Pelosi fresh from her defeat for the Armenian genocide resolution in the lower house did not even bothered to sponsor the equity bill.

In 2007,the US Congress despite the promises of political leaders failed to pass the veterans equity bills HR 1415 and SB760 which is believed to be dead this year. Congresssman Bob Filner promised to pass the equity bill

It was very clear that the democratic majority did not deliver its promise to pass the equity bill to the Filipino-American community. There was no basic difference with the republican controlled congress.

Why the bill failed?

The equity bill was buried and lost in a flurry of activities in Congress. First, the Armenian genocide resolution which was almost passed. But it was later withdrawn with strong objections from Turkey. Turkey refused to recognized the Armenian Genocide ever happened.

Another issue that kept Congress busy was the war in Iraq. The democrats and the republicans were so locked last September so all the debates were focused on the budget and the so called” Surge” in Iraq.

Before that, the big let down was the debate on the immigration reforms. Both the republicans and the democrats paid lip service to the pressing needs of more than 12 million immigrants. No new law for immigrants was passed.

The US Congress was not strong enough to override the presidential veto. The congress was a proverbial hostage to war spending in Iraq and they do care about the public opinion against the war.

What are the next steps?

The equity bill will again start from scratch, new bills will be filed and again, politicians will make promises to the community especially this coming elections.

There are only 18,000 remaining veterans out of more than 250,000 who fought during the war in the Philippines, More than 4,000 veterans are here in the United States. And most of them are voters.

More activities must be geared to build support to the equity bill. Direct mass actions by more militant student and youth must be called in campuses, communities and cities.

Lobbying is US Congress will not suffice.

People remembered that in 1997 the equity bill almost passed with a simple majority. The came the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky impeachement trials that used up the US Congress time. Many veterans became skeptics and were disilussioned and left for home.



More and more veterans are dying each day. Congress will not act on lobbying alone Besides being costly to bring people to Washington, veterans are slowly dying and dwindling.

There are only 18,000 remaining veterans out of more than 250,000 who fought during the war in the Philippines “They served that is why they deserved to be honored not to be discriminated.” A youth leader said

“Maybe the US Congress strategy is to let more Filipinos to die and give the equity when there will be no more Filipino veterans left to receive it.” A veteran leader commented. “That maybe the sad truth”.

For more information call about the JFAV please call Jason Yap at (213) 241-0995 or Mike Nailat at (213)382-1819

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