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Appeal for Executive Order for Full Recognition of Filipino WW II Veterans

by Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM
pilipinokami76@yahoo.com 213-241-0995 1610 Beverly Blvd. Suite No. 2 Los Angeles, CA 90026

“Everybody should play by the same rule.” Mr. President, we appeal to you for Executive Order for Full Recognition of Filipino WW II V... eterans . We are the Filipino WW II veterans and their widows who have defended this nation and decisively won a war to keep Americans safe. Yet, to this day we have to fight for the basic right of full recognition of our US military service. This year, the US Congress due to direct opposition of the Republican leadership has failed to approve an equity bill that would have reversed chronic injustice and racial discrimination. We appeal that as we bring the fight to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on November 5, 2012 , that you issue an Executive Order to provide full recognition to the Filipino WW II veterans as full American veterans.

Appeal for Executive...
dsc_0497.jpg, image/jpeg, 3872x2592

JFAV Update

October 21, 2012

Appeal for Executive Order for Full Recognition of Filipino WW II Veterans

( This one page ad appeared at Asian Journal, a Filipino-American newspaper, October 20, 2012 on the 68th Anniversary of the Leyte Landing, October 20, 1944.)

“Everybody should play by the same rule.” Mr. President, we appeal to you for Executive Order for Full Recognition of Filipino WW II V...

eterans .

We are the Filipino WW II veterans and their widows who have defended this nation and decisively won a war to keep Americans safe. Yet, to this day we have to fight for the basic right of full recognition of our US military service. This year, the US Congress due to direct opposition of the Republican leadership has failed to approve an equity bill that would have reversed chronic injustice and racial discrimination.

We appeal that as we bring the fight to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on November 5, 2012 , that you issue an Executive Order to provide full recognition to the Filipino WW II veterans as full American veterans.

The US Congress broke its promise when in 1946 it passed the Rescission Act that took away the full recognition and full benefits of the 250,000 Filipinos who served the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) out of the 66 Allied nationalities that served the US.

In 1996, then President Bill Clinton issued Proclamation 6943 declaring October 20 as a day to honor the Filipino veterans of World War II for their contributions to our freedom.

In 2008, the US Congress passed a piece meal recognition that provided one-time lump sum compensation. Many legitimate veterans and widows were excluded since the basis of eligibility was the “Missouri List” that was gutted down in fire in 1973. To date, there are 24,000 veterans out of the 41,000 who were denied of the compensation. At best, the lump sum was a partial benefit that comes short of an unconditional recognition of the US military service of the Filipinos.

This year, many members of the House predominantly Democrats, co-sponsored HR 210, “The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011,” introduced by D-Representative Jackie Speier, CA-12th. This would have been the last chance to rectify the historic sin of the US Congress. But the Republican leaders headed by Representatives Jeff Miller and Jon Runyan blocked efforts for a hearing at the Veterans Affairs Committee despite 96 House members cosponsoring the bill that would cost less than 1% of the annual budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. President, WW II was a moral war and it ended in a military victory and brought democracy in the world. Unlike the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, WW II resulted in America that is respected and admired by the world. Filipinos did not volunteer to participate in an American war. President Roosevelt through an Executive Order commissioned them to defend the nation with the condition that after the war, Filipinos would be treated as equals just like any other American veterans.

How the US government treats the veterans reflect the American values of freedom, honor, dignity, and “fair share.” In the next three years, the last veterans of the WW II will soon perish without seeing the light of recognition.

As veterans, we do not beg for entitlement. We simply ask the recognition that we earned with our sacrifice. Mr. President, if you were brave enough to issue an Executive Order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that saved many immigrants, why would you not extend same act of justice to our aging veterans?

Veterans cannot play victims to the gridlock of both political parties. Since the US Congress has failed time and again, we appeal for your sense of justice to intervene and issue an Executive Order. Even after 66 years, it is never too late to do the right thing.

Felino Punsalan, 96 years old

WW II Veteran

Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV)

Arturo Garcia

National Coordinator

Justice for Filipino-American Veterans (JFAV)

(Ad paid by veterans and their families alone. No contributions received from any political parties.)

***********

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