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."
If that is true, why don’t the British and French pay for US pensions? They honor our dead and give us airspace, but as far as I know, my uncles and grandfather got no check in British pounds or Euros, or even French francs, prior to the conversion...
The Japanese did the invading, why not tax them with war reparations?
Japan paid reparations - 1 trillion, 30 billion yen, plus individual amounts to countries that did not agree to collective remuneration.
The British pay (or paid) pensions for US citizens who fought in Brit units, and have since the war ended. We didn’t do the same for Filipinos.
Acknowledging those who fought with us is right. But it doesn’t make the porkulus one inch better. It’s shameless windowdressing.
No argument. I said as much in a followup post.
Idea = good.
Sticking it in Porkulus to try to make it more appetizing = bad.
Were I in Congress, I would not have voted for it, even with a thousand such provisions.
Ok, enough, pay them. Who cares, the golf carts and road to Vegas pet projects dwarf this money.
I was just curious.
I salute those brave men and was unaware the Brits paid us.
Last year the Philippine government sent $500,000.00 to a lobbying firm in Wash, DC. The fee was the price to pay to get the veterans funding.
RP signs $500,000 US lobby deal
By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:41:00 01/31/2008
Filed Under: Licensing Agreements
MANILA, Philippines — The government has signed a $500,000 (P20 million) lobbying contract with one of Washington D.C.s more influential law firms to push the countrys interests in the United States, particularly veterans issues in the US Congress, the Philippine embassy in Washington said Thursday.
In his report to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, Ambassador to Washington Willy Gaa said he signed the contract on behalf of the Philippines, while Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat signed on behalf of International Practice of Covington & Burling LLP as its chair and partner.
Gaa said the contract, signed on Wednesday, was valid for six months and did not entail additional expense to the Philippine government, such as for travel and representation.
Gaa said the contract-signing was held after both sides had complied with the requirements of Philippine and US laws and after several rounds of discussions.
Ambassador Eizenstat and his team will provide welcome support to our efforts here in Washington, said Gaa. Our consultant and his excellent team will work broadly on a bipartisan basis, particularly in Congress.
More importantly, Gaa said, their priority remains correcting the grave injustice done to Filipino World War II veterans, referring to the veterans equity bill that is awaiting approval on Capitol Hill.
Gaa said the Philippines remained committed to winning for the Filipino veterans the benefits, dignity and recognition that they truly deserve.
Gaa said the embassy would release a copy of the contract after the signed copy had been registered with the US Department of Justice and received officially in the Philippines.
Philippine laws and regulations, particularly Executive Order No. 662-A, require that the contract be submitted to the Procurement Transparency Group under the Government Procurement Policy Board, which is chaired by the secretary of budget and management.
Reports out of Washington said Eizenstat was tapped to push the Philippine political, security and trade agenda on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the Department of State.
The Philippines also has consultancy agreements with Burson-Marsteller, as well as Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg to lobby for bigger Philippine garment quotas.
The firms recent pro bono matters include:
* Former and/or continued representation of fifteen Yemenis, one Pakistani, and one Algerian being held at Guantanamo Bay, and have obtained favorable rulings that detainees have rights under the Fifth Amendment and the Geneva Conventions. The court ruled in March 2005 that the government could not transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to foreign custody without first giving the prisoners a chance to challenge the move in court.
* Preparing an amicus brief on behalf of a number of social scientists in the Cook v. Rumsfeld case challenging the militarys don’t ask, don’t tell policy.
* Filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in support of the Planned Parenthood challenge of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.
* Supporting the District of Columbia in District of Columbia v. Heller which argues that the District’s ban on the possession of handguns and its storage provisions for other firearms in the home is not implicated by the Second Amendment.
Since 2001, Holder has worked as an attorney at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.,[
According to the source, because they were members of the US Army, not the Philippine Militia. You do remember that the Philippines was US Territory then?
Are you under the impression that anyone who gets US Government money does so without lobbying for it? That the Fillipinos had lobbyists goes without saying.
I can get along with this one.
why in the world is this in a stimulus bill that has to be signed off on immediately? this action happened over 60 years ago.
Didn’t know that...
Yep, the Phillippines was US territory from 1898 to 1948. We were building them for independence when WWII started.
The answer to your question is simple. The Philippines were a US territory until shortly after WWII. While it is true the Filipino service members were liberating their lands, those lands were a territory of the United States of America, and not an independent nation.