Filipino Veterans and Pilgrims


Filipino Veterans and Pilgrims

The celebration of Thanksgiving Day leads us to the same road in search for that action of grace, the road taken by the Pilgrims who were in search of a new chance to live a life of peace and justice.  

But with the continuing injustice done to the Filipino veterans, many of whom are dying everyday because the benefits that are long overdue have yet to be given them, the 
Thanksgiving of the Filipino veterans as the new pilgrims comes off as something off tangent. 

With only about 18,000 of them left of the 250,000 who served the United States in order to fight the 
American War in the Pacific against the Japanese occupiers and invaders, the continuing inaction—despite talks and debates in the United States Senate and in the House of Representatives on how to finally grant them the benefits they deserve—will only exacerbate the kind of treatment given to these soldiers who fought an American war side by side with the American soldiers.

And to think that in that war, more than 
one million people died in the name of World War II.

The cry of the veterans and those supporting their cause is for the bills S 1315 (The 
Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act) and House Bill 68097 to be reconciled.  

But when the reconciling would happen is an issue that is as urgent as the need to recognize that more than half a century after the war, these Filipino veterans have yet to receive what is due them. 

"It's long overdue that the United States Senate recognize the contribution made by so many Filipinos in 
World War Two to the success of ourwar effort," said Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.

This sums up the fight for justice for these veterans. 

As to their contribution to the cause of fighting alongside the American soldiers, Durbin praised the Filipino veterans: "Our fight in the Philippines was a bitter, long, and tragic battle that ended well but only after great sacrifice by the 
Filipino people, by Filipino soldiers and by our American soldiers." 

This praise, however, needs to be translated into concrete terms.  

A Solver Agcaoili
FAO November 2009/Editorial

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