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Filipino World War II veterans
by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC
Thursday Oct 2nd, 2008 10:04 AM
When Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945, we who had fought as regular army or as guerrillas suddenly became veterans. The terrible war was finally over and everybody looked to picking up the pieces in a regime of peace. From what I read in the papers, the pension is not much. But the feeling among most veterans seems to be that whatever the pension may finally be, it will be better than nothing. The Americans have pummeled the Filipino veterans into submission. He now goes around with a begging bowl in hand. This is the greatest insult and the most pitiful tragedy.

Echo Park Communtiy Coalition Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2008 at 1:20 PM
jfav_causa [at] yahoo.com 213-241-0906
337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026


EPCC News
Sept. 30, 2008

World War II veterans


By Honesto General
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:11:00 10/01/2008


Manila-- When Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945, we who had fought as regular army or as guerrillas suddenly became veterans. The terrible war was finally over and everybody looked to picking up the pieces in a regime of peace.

I had joined the guerrillas late in the war. When the Bicol region was liberated, all the guerrilla units were organized into the Bicol Brigade and integrated into the regular Philippine Army. We were billeted in the pre-war army barracks in Daraga town in Albay province. We were eagerly looking forward to joining the invasion of Japan.

After V-J Day, the brigade was brought to Manila in a US transport ship. We were demobilized in Camp Murphy, now Camp Aguinaldo, the military general headquarters, in Quezon City. We went back home to Bicol, courtesy of the Manila Railroad.

I was out of school throughout the war. I finally finished high school at the Ateneo de Naga in 1947. Like any veteran, my tuition fees at the National University, where I took up mechanical engineering (at the time, engineering courses were only for four years), were fully paid for by the Philippine Veterans Board using American money under the US GI Bill of Rights.

As the years went by, I slowly realized that Filipino WWII veterans had been short-changed.

The Veterans Hospital at Quezon City was originally planned to be twice as big. But the Philippine government, still struggling from the ravages of war, asked the US government for half of the money. As a result, the hospital was cut in half, leaving enough room for an 18-hole golf course. Now, I hear a well-connected real estate developer wants to put up high-rise condominium buildings on the golf course. That’s fine, provided (a) there should be a real public bidding and (b) the proceeds should be spent to improve hospital facilities.

As the veterans reached old age, pensions became a huge problem. To be sure, the Philippine government has done what it could. Every month, I trudge to the nearest branch of the Philippine Veterans Bank to cash my P5,000 monthly pension. My sister-in-law in Naga City also gets her pension as the survivor of my late elder brother who was also a veteran.

During the Fidel Ramos presidency, a law was enacted granting an old-age pension of P700 monthly to veterans (the terms had been expanded to include all veterans since after World War II) who were at least 70 years old, subject to availability of funds. Of course, no funds were available. By now, the government owes the veterans some P20 billion.

Perhaps, some of the windfall from value-added tax can be appropriated to help clear the account.

The US government rescinded its wartime obligations to Filipino veterans, except disability benefits that were already in force. My cousin continues to receive $700 monthly for his permanent disability.

I have always said that, in the world of geopolitics, the US government has always treated its wartime enemies, Germany and Japan, much better than its wartime allies like the Philippines.

Now pending in the US Congress is a bill to resume pension benefits to Filipino WWII veterans. The bill will soon go to the bicameral conference committee. Before the end of his terms, President Bush should sign the final bill into law.

From what I read in the papers, the pension is not much. But the feeling among most veterans seems to be that whatever the pension may finally be, it will be better than nothing.

The Americans have pummeled the Filipino veterans into submission. He now goes around with a begging bowl in hand. This is the greatest insult and the most pitiful tragedy.
§FIGHT FOR RECOGNITION, JUSTICE And EQUITY FOR FILIPINO VETERANS!!
by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC Thursday Oct 2nd, 2008 10:04 AM


Now pending in the US Congress is a bill to resume pension benefits to Filipino WWII veterans. The bill will soon go to the bicameral conference committee. Before the end of his terms, President Bush should sign the final bill into law.

From what I read in the papers, the pension is not much. But the feeling among most veterans seems to be that whatever the pension may finally be, it will be better than nothing.

The Americans have pummeled the Filipino veterans into submission. He now goes around with a begging bowl in hand. This is the greatest insult and the most pitiful tragedy.