OCA Urges Congress to Recognize the Military Service of World War II Filipino Veterans
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2007
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Washington, DC – OCA, a national organization with 80 chapters and affiliates dedicated to ensuring social justice for Asian Pacific Americans, today urged Congress to pass the Filipino Veterans Equity Act (S 57/HR 760), a bill currently pending which would restore full benefits to Filipino veterans who fought under U.S. military command during World War II.
Approximately 250,000 Filipino soldiers were inducted into the U.S. Armed Forces and served alongside U.S. forces during World War II. However, they do not hold veteran status and currently they are denied disability pension, and other veterans’ benefits.
"Denying full benefits to these veterans is shameful, especially since they have been denied benefits for over 60 years after the end of the war. With the Filipino Veterans Equity Act, Congress now has a chance to begin to correct this injustice,” said Ginny Gong, National President. "However, with the rapidly aging population of veterans, and with only about 20,000 of the original 250,000 veterans still alive, Congress must act quickly. We cannot wait to recognize the honorable service these soldiers gave our country.”
Citizens of over 66 other allied countries also served under U.S. command during World War II, however, only veterans from the Philippines do not receive full benefits. Currently, these veterans are eligible only for burial benefits, access to VA medical facilities, and some SSI benefits.
"Although they served under equal conditions with equal courage and honor as other forces under U.S. command, these quarter of a million soldiers are still not eligible for equal benefits. This is an outrage, considering their contributions to the U.S.,” said Michael Lin, Executive Director. "June 12 is Philippine Independence Day and is the perfect time to stand in solidarity with the Filipino American community on this important issue. We call on Congress to restore justice, dignity, and equity by passing the Filipino Veterans Equity Act.”
Founded in 1973 as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA, a national organization with over 80 chapters and affiliates across the country, is dedicated to advancing the social, economic, and political well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.