Bipartisan bill to recognize and pay Filipino World War II filed

U.S. Senator Dean Heller
By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – A U.S. senator from Nevada has joined forces with two other legislators and introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress that will establish a process for all eligible Filipino veterans to be compensated for their services during World War II.
Dean Heller, a Republican, and Democrat Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York), filed the bipartisan legislation on Jan. 15 called the Filipino Promise Act.
It is intended to recognize Filipino veterans not included in official lists to be paid for their services to the United States during the war.
. “Since my first days in the Senate, I have fought for this legislation because of its importance to the Filipino community. That’s why I take great pride in this bill,” Heller said.

Heller and Hirono filed  the Filipino Veterans Promise Act for the first time in 2013 as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual federal law specifying the budget of the US Department of Defense

“The Act. would provide Filipino WWII veterans a process to prove that they indeed served and are eligible for the benefits they’ve been promised,” en. Hirono aid in a statement.

After World War II, the US Army created the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerrilla Roster of 1948, also known as the “Missouri List,” based on those who sought an got health care benefits.

The list has been used by the military to verify the soldiers who fought alongside US troops in the Philippines.

Heller an other legislator believe that some Filipino veterans were not included in the list and therefore denied benefits.

In 2009, as one of the first acts of President Obama, the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC)—a $198-million fund was approved under the American Reinvestment Act.

A one-time lump sum payments of $15,000 were paid to each Filipino World War II veteran, who were US citizens or permanent residents.

Veterans living in the Philippines were given $9,000 each.

More than 41,000 claims were filed under the one-time payment program. Of those, le than half, or only 12,600 were found eligible for benefits.

“Filipino veterans made huge sacrifices for America during World War II. They fought side by side with US troops and put their lives on the line, to preserve and protect our democracy,”  Rep. Meng said.

“We must immediately right this wrong and provide Filipino veterans with the benefits that they have been owed for far too long.”

 

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