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Pilipino WWII veterans in the Philippines to get M a year- Speaker De Venecia

by JFAV Monday, Jan. 07, 2008 at 8:18 PM
jfav_causa@yahoo.com 2134-241-0995 1610 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. yesterday announced that the United States House of Representatives, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has assured that a bill that would provide million a year to Filipino World War II veterans is being prioritized in Capitol Hill. De Venecia said the bill, Filipino Veterans Equity Bill, may be scheduled for a floor vote following its approval last July in a markup hearing by the US House of Representatives veterans affairs committee headed by by Bob Filner. The bill was reported out by the Congressional Budget Office for Budget Estimates last September. The Speaker quoted Pelosi as telling him during a telephone conversation in California, that they “will try to organize a financial package” for Filipino war veterans.

Pilipino WWII veterans in the Philippines to get M a year- Speaker De Venecia

Manila-- Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. yesterday announced that the United States House of Representatives, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has assured that a bill that would provide million a year to Filipino World War II veterans is being prioritized in Capitol Hill.

De Venecia said the bill, Filipino Veterans Equity Bill, may be scheduled for a floor vote following its approval last July in a markup hearing by

the US House of Representatives veterans affairs committee headed by by Bob Filner. The bill was reported out by the Congressional Budget Office for Budget Estimates last September.

The Speaker quoted Pelosi as telling him during a telephone conversation in California, that they “will try to organize a financial package” for Filipino war veterans.

The same assurances for a floor vote was given by the Gilman Group, headed by Ben Gilman, former House chairman of the original advocate of the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill in 1995.

De Venecia added President George W. Bush has already assured President Arroyo that he would sign the bill into law once it is approved by the US Congress.

He extended an official invitation for Speaker Pelosi to visit the Philippines this year to mark 100 years of the first Philippine Assembly, the US-sponsored legislature elected in 1907 that became the forerunner of the House.

Then US Secretary of War William Howard Taft graced the inaugural representing the government of President Theodore Roosevelt.

De Venecia said Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the US, will be asked to address the Philippine House of Representatives.

As of 2007, there are an estimated 18,155 surviving Filipino World War II veterans who have yet to receive any kind of benefit from the US government.

The Office of the Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, in a report, described the veterans as in their mid 80s with “very poor access to healthcare and dying at the rate of 10 percent.” By 2015, all the veterans would have passed away, it said.

About 4,000 more Filipino veterans are based in the US and given service-connected medical and burial benefits.

Under HR 760, Filipino World War II veterans benefits will include 0 a month for married veterans, 0 a month for single veterans, 0 a month for the widows of veterans and 2 a month in medical allowance for all.

De Venecia thanked the head of the Veterans Office, Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana (Ret.) for their unrelenting efforts to get the bill approved by the US Congress.

“We have attached a major importance to this bill,” De Venecia said as he expressed gratitude to Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy Gaa, Consul General Cecille Rebong in New York, Consul General Jun Paynor in San Francisco, and Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, former Supreme Court chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr.

Among the bill’s co-sponsors, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) was quoted as saying he believes that Filner could win a floor vote. Congressional staffers also said the bill could “easily pass a floor vote if the Speaker supports it.”

Filner and another co-sponsor, Rep. Honda, said from the beginning that funding would not be a problem.

The US Senate is expected to deliberate for the first time this month on the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka, the US Senate veterans committee chairman.

Earlier reports said Idaho Sen. Larry Craig strongly opposed the bill, saying some of its provisions are “controversial enough to merit considerable debate.”

Craig though recognized the Filipino veterans’ service in the Pacific war, saying “victory in the Pacific would not have been assured without that

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