Include FilVets Benefits In Talks With Aquino, Obama Is Urged By Nevada FilVet

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – A Nevada Legislative committee and a Filipino veterans advocate are urging President Obama and visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to include veterans benefits in their agenda.

Nevada’s Filipino veterans advocate, Luke Perry, said, Nevada Senator Shirley A. Breeden, chair of the Legislative Committee on Senior Citizens, Veterans and Adults With Special Needs, urged Mr. Obama, when he comes to visit Las Vegas, to sign an “Executive Order to allow for other options of verification for military service.”

In a letter addressed to Mr. Obama, Senator Breeden said, “One of the many important topics discussed by the Committee was the issue of 24,000 WW II Filipino veterans being denied benefits by the Veterans Administration due to difficulties in  verifying their service records maintained by the National Personnel Records Center.

“The Committee was encouraged to learn of a proposal currently being considered by Congress, which would deem certain military services performed in the Philippines before July 1, 1946 as eligible for veterans’ benefits.”

It said the measure, H.R. 210, is known as the “Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011” would result in those individuals previously deemed ineligible to receive overdue compensation through the Filipino Veterans Compensation Fund.

“However,” the letter said, “this measure has not received a hearing since being referred to the House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs in February of 2011.

“Therefore, the Committee members have voted with bipartisan support to send you this letter urging your full support of an Executive Order to allow for other options of verification for military service. Nevada is home to one of the oldest World War II Filipino veterans, who  will turn 100 years old this month and who would directly benefit from the passage of the Act.”

24,000 WW II FILVETS DENIED BENEFITS

The letter was also sent to Nevada’s House Representatives Mark Amodei, Shelley Berkley and Joe Heck, who were also informed by Breeden that “(s)ince the adjournment of Nevada’s last legislative session, the Legislative Committee on Citizens, Veterans and Adults with Special Needs has met to discuss several issues during our May 15, 2012 meeting, the committee heard testimony 24,000 WW II Filipino veterans being denied benefits by  the Veterans Administration due to difficulties in verifying service records  maintained by the NPRC.”

Meanwhile, Fr. Prisco E. Entines, son of a Filipino veteran, also wrote President Obama to include in  his discussion at the upcoming visit of President Aquino on June 8 the creation of an “Ad Hoc” Special Team-Committee to revisit and conduct an unbiased analysis for permanent and final compensatory, payment and reparation to Filipino veterans.

Entines said since the Philippines was a U.S. Commonwealth from 1934 to 1946, Filipinos at that time were “legally presumed “en masse” U.S. naturalized.”

He added that since Filipino soldiers were later demoted as “U.S. nationals” and were subjected to death penalty under Articles of War in case of desertion, they were stripped of their benefits under the Recession Acts of 1946. They were also  stripped of their U.S. citizenships although they qualify as such under the “jus soli” and “jus sanguinis” principles.

He said the rabid, inherently systemic and institutionalized, extreme racism since 1902 ACT, whereby the US National-non-citizen status was imposed, with one and only purpose to racially disqualify US National-reduced Filipinos not only from Native-born US citizenship but even from Naturalized US citizenship. And despite the 1906 Naturalization right for Filipinos who serve in any branch of the US Armed Forces was deliberately concealed; many times amended and finally rescinded by an “Ex Post Facto” law.”

He added, “will help both US and the Philippines not only in its economic and other aspects of recovery, that the FT. KNOX Gold Bullions be properly audited and that we return to the Gold-backed US currency that I can recall vividly was also the currency used during the US-Philippine Commonwealth period.”

The Filipino priest said that he believes defense measures will top the agenda of the Aquino visit. But he also believes there is no harm in including long-time issues that have been causing some irritants in the relations of the two countries. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

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PHOTO CREDIT: filipiinoboston.blogspot.com

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