Washington, DC –Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) have introduced the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2022 to ensure our brave Filipino WWII veterans and their families receive the benefits to which they are entitled, and in celebration of October being Filipino American History Month.
“When the United States reneged on promises made to Filipino veterans who fought valiantly with the United States and our allies in WWII, it committed a historic transgression that continues to wreak pain and anguish for our dwindling surviving veterans and their families. It also undermines our country’s standing and trustworthiness with the Filipino community, our allies, and the wider world,” Chair Speier said. “My bill rights this longstanding wrong by finally fulfilling our commitment to these heroes and their families. The United States has always benefited from the collective strength of our allies and coalitions. If we fail to take care of our partners, we risk finding ourselves alone in the face of growing worldwide threats to democracy.”
“I am honored to join my colleagues in calling once again for our country to honor the promise made to Filipino veterans who fought alongside our service members during World War II,” Rep. Case said. “In my Hawai‘i, we are home to 361,597 Filipinos, fully a quarter of the total population in the islands, by far the largest percentage of any state or territory, and among these are the last of these veterans who were willing to give the last full measure of devotion in the fight against aggression to preserve the peace and freedom we all enjoy. Time for them and their families and for those they honored is short and we must deliver now.”
When the U.S. came under attack in World War II, 250,000 brave Filipinos volunteered to fight alongside U.S. forces and under the command of U.S. military officers. As American nationals, they were promised all the benefits afforded to U.S. troops. Yet in 1946, Congress inexplicably stripped these benefits from our Filipino veterans, overturning President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s commitment.
The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2022 rectifies that injustice by restoring full veterans benefits to all Filipino WWII veterans who served under U.S. command, especially providing widows and children of Filipino veterans the same eligibility for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation provided to the families of all other veterans. It also directs the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to take into account alternative military documentation when determining eligibility, removing a significant hurdle that has kept many deserving dependents from receiving their rightful benefits due to a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.
There is no historical justification for this disparate treatment of Filipino WWII veterans, who fought for our country in combat and served the U.S. and our allies under the command of U.S. military officers, as explained in this fact sheet and in this information paper.
The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2022 is cosponsored by Reps. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Andy Levin (MI-09), and Dina Titus (NV-01).
A copy of the bill text is attached below.
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