Senator Boxer: Filipino Veterans Deserve Full Benefits
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
In the years before the Commonwealth of the Philippines was granted independence by the United States in 1946, members of the Commonwealth’s military forces were called and ordered to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. These troops served bravely and honorably throughout World War II, and they were authorized to receive full pay and benefits for their service. However, in 1946, Congress rescinded benefits for Filipino veterans.
Throughout the years, I have sponsored and supported legislation to right this historical wrong and restore benefits to these courageous veterans who fought side by side with U.S. Armed Forces in World War II. In the new Congress, I am proud to be a co-sponsor of two such bills: the Filipino Veterans Equity Act and the Filipino-American Family Reunification Act.
The Filipino Veterans Equity Act would restore the benefits due to Filipino veterans by granting full recognition for their military service in World War II. These benefits include veterans health care, service-connected disability compensation, dependent indemnity compensation, death pension, and burial benefits.
The Filipino-American Family Reunification Act would help the approximately 7,000 Filipino veterans who are naturalized U.S. citizens living in the United States to be reunited with their families. It would exempt their adult children, many of whom have spent years on immigration waiting lists, from the worldwide and numerical limitations on immigrant visas.
Our nation can never fully repay the debt we owe to these and other veterans, but we can do the right thing by honoring our commitments to Filipino veterans. I will be working to ensure that both of these important bills are passed by Congress and signed into law.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer