Skip to comments.Stimulus bill to reward Filipino vets
Posted on 02/17/2009 11:02:19 PM PST by Coleus
President Obama's signature today on the stimulus bill will grant Filipino World War II veterans long-awaited recognition and compensation for their service alongside U.S. forces against the Japanese. The measure calls for a one-time lump sum payment of $15,000 for Filipino veterans who are U.S. citizens, and $9,000 for non-citizens. It sets aside $198 million for the veterans. And, in what many Filipino-American organizations say is more important, it recognizes the role they played defending the U.S. flag in the war.
"The recognition is the most important," said Jose Red, an 84-year-old veteran who lives in Jersey City. "We've been working for the recognition for a long, long time. We did this for democracy, for freedom, for the future generations."
Recognition as full-fledged World War II veterans was promised to the Filipinos when they were conscripted into the U.S. Army, with the understanding that they would receive the same benefits as U.S. veterans. But after the war ended, Congress stripped them of their status and their rights to many benefits. "It felt like being told you're a nobody," Red said. "We felt insulted," he added. "We fought side by side with American soldiers."
Of the 200,000 Filipinos who fought alongside U.S. soldiers, fewer than 18,000 are alive today. Some 6,000 are thought to be living in the United States, while the rest live overseas, mostly in the Philippines. About two dozen live in New Jersey, said Red, a founder of the Philippine-American Veterans Organization. Like many measures in the stimulus bill, this one was opposed by congressional members and others who said it does nothing to create jobs or help the U.S. economy.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat who was the main force behind inclusion of the bid, conceded on the Senate floor that the Filipino compensation measure "doesn't create jobs." But he added, "The honor of the United States that's what's involved." Filipino-Americans who for years pushed for a measure that would provide both compensation and recognition argued that the provision in the stimulus bill does not allocate new money to the veterans, but rather releases funds that had been set aside in an appropriations bill last year.
"This is not new spending," said Eric Lachica, whose late father was a World War II veteran and who is a volunteer coordinator for American Coalition for Filipino Veterans Inc. "It authorizes the release of the money." Ludi Hughes, a Fair Lawn resident whose father died in 1958 and fought in the war, said she was relieved to see the measure pass, though she also sympathized with those who questioned its inclusion in the stimulus bill.
"It doesn't really help the U.S. economy, and as an American, I understand why people would see it as wrong to make it part of the stimulus bill," Hughes said. "But as a Filipino-American I feel it's about time that these veterans get the compensation and recognition that they've waited so long to get. It's been more than 60 years. It's too long. There aren't even many of them left to get this help."
The provision calls for benefits to be available to such veterans during a one-year period from the date of enactment. It also allows for widows or widowers of claimants to collect benefits. "We're telling people to file as soon as they're eligible," said Lachica. "Many of these veterans are in their 90s. They can't wait."
One of the few provisions of the bill that I *don’t* have a problem with.
I agree with what yer saying but there are, were and will be better ways !
I fear it opens a gate for those far less deserving demanding cash.
Opps, Too late.
I still oppose this on principle. These kind of things need their own bill. The only reason this was attached is to hid the 20 other amendments that are pure pork.
It is better than nothing. At the rate that WW2 vets are dying off, there won’t be much time left to do something even vaguely meaningful.
These men were ours, we should take care of our own.
That gate got blown open years ago.
The 2009 Filipino Stimulus Bill
Did they get their island back from the Japanese?
Did the Japanese give them a present?
Did France give the US any cheese or wine for saving them?
Do welfare queens and illegal Mexican gangsters give a crap when they collapse an economy?
I am so tired of giving away all of our prosperity to people who got their already.
It’s good to know the vets got something, why not the FILIPINO GOVERNMENT?
I don’t disagree, but some is better than none.
If you want to wait until the Dems agree to pay all, we’ll be on WW VI.
A surprisingly large number of Filipino troops stayed in the fight until the capitulation of Japan, not just until the liberation of the Philippines.
Bad bill is a bad bill....period ! To put some sugar in it to sell the bulk acidity of it doesn’t make it passable at all IMO.
hope yer well....stay safe !
I didn’t say it was a GOOD bill. I just said that I didn’t have a problem with this one provision.
Regardless, this bill should never have seen the light of day and the recognition of service should have been passed years ago.
Again, the Filipino government should pull out its checkbook and pay its gratitude to its soldiers who assisted the Americans in saving their island.
If the Filipinos came to California and saved the US from the Germans and then continued on to Berlin. the US would owe them a nice pension.
I am still confused on why we have are paying them? THEY were occupied by the Japanese, we were allies and liberated them, I know, my two best friends are from the Phillipines...I am just curious why we owe them money?
Have I lost my mind?
The Filipino government did it’s part for its soldiers decades ago. Until today, and to the best of my knowledge, the US never has.
IMHO, this is less about paying those that helped evict the Japanese and more about paying for all the rescued and protected airmen and soldiers as well as those Filipino troops that tried to keep US troops alive in the Bataan death march and subsequent internment. Review your WW2 history, specifically the Filipino campaigns.
Oh, and by the way? The Filipinos still honor both Filipino AND US troops who perished in the Bataan Death March every April 9 - it’s a national holiday.
My great uncle survived Bataan, thank you. I am very familiar with WW2 history/
They were allies, I am just missing the point of why the US has to pay them?
Makes no sense to me.
IIRC, many were attached to US units and weren’t being paid.