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No Fil-Vets Equity for 2007

by JFAV Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007 at 9:21 PM
jfav_causa@hotmail.com 213-241-0995 337 Glendale blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The two Filipino World War II Veterans equity bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, H.R. 760 and S. 1315, no longer have the possibly of being passed in 2007. But S. 671, the family reunification bill that has about 20,000 immediate priority visas at stake for the sons, daughters and grandchildren of these veterans still has a shot of being approved this year. On the other hand, Al Garcia of the Justice for Filipino American Veterans in L.A. said that the non-passage of the equity bills was because of the solid opposition of the Republican party.The equity bill was vehemently opposed by Republican Senator Larry Craig. “If some people in the Republican party will vote with the Democrats, maybe there’s a chance that it will pass the floor. But they were solid (against it). We are planning to do more dramatic mass actions next year. Senator Daniel Akaka is promising that perhaps, at the 62nd anniversary of the equity bill in February, they will try to pass it,” Garcia added



No Fil-Vets Equity for 2007

December 17, 2007

By Amee R. Enriquez

Balita News Service

LOS ANGELES—The two Filipino World War II Veterans equity bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, H.R. 760 and S. 1315, no longer have the possibly of being passed in 2007. But S. 671, the family reunification bill that has about 20,000 immediate priority visas at stake for the sons, daughters and grandchildren of these veterans still has a shot of being approved this year.

Eric Lachica, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, Inc. (ACFV) and Filipino World War II veteran Franco Arcebal, who is Forum Coordinator and Facilitator and ACFV Vice President for Membership., confirmed this in a phone interview last Dec. 7.

“We’re optimistic we can pull it off before Christmas,” Lachica said about S. 671.

There are two weeks left before the Senate adjourns on Dec. 21 for the holidays and returns in January, he added. The bill, supported by 87 senators last May, still has a chance to be deliberated on in the two weeks.

Lachica and Arcebal are hopeful that the bill will be passed since, unlike the equity bills, this bill has no budgetary demands.

No equity in 2007

The different veterans groups lamented the non-passage of the equity bills in both the Congress and Senate but maintained optimism that the bills would make headway in 2008.

Lachica criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that she did not help further the cause by not lobbying in behalf of the Filipino veterans.

“Neutral lang siya,” Arcebal said, “Sana magsalita naman siya (tungkol sa issue).”

On the other hand, Al Garcia of the Justice for Filipino American Veterans in L.A. said that the non-passage of the equity bills was because of the solid opposition of the Republican party.The equity bill was vehemently opposed by Republican Senator Larry Craig.

“If some people in the Republican party will vote with the Democrats, maybe there’s a chance that it will pass the floor. But they were solid (against it). We are planning to do more dramatic mass actions next year. Senator Daniel Akaka is promising that perhaps, at the 62nd anniversary of the equity bill in February, they will try to pass it,” Garcia added.

According to Lachica, all unfinished bills in the senate, including S. 1315, will be carried over for floor debate and passage in 2008.

History

In the months before and after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in World War II, 250,000 Filipinos joined the U.S. Armed Forces and made an oath of allegiance to the U.S. to “serve them honestly and faithfully...against all their enemies whomsoever...and I will obey the orders...of the President of the United States...And the orders of the officers appointed over me...according to the rules and Articles of War.”

The Filipinos were promised the same health and pension benefits as their American counterparts.

But when the “1946 Rescission Act” was passed and signed into law, it was stated that the service of Filipinos during World War II under the United States “shall not be deemed to be or to have been service in the military or national forces of the United States or any component thereof or any law of the United States conferring rights, privileges or benefits.”

The Senate bill S. 1315 and its counterpart House version, H.R. 760, both have been approved by the Veterans Affairs committees in the Senate and House in June and July, respectively, but have not been voted on. If passed, both bills would restore the official recognition of the U.S. military service of Filipino WWII veterans.

Gatherings

Arcebal said that the Filipino veterans are planning to visit the offices of California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein to draw more attention to their cause. “We need to seek the help of the members of their staff for our cause,”

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, the veterans are planning to be in Washington, D.C. to push for the family reunification bill.

***********
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