Hollywood: Pinoy WWII veterans march for equity

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 12, 2013

While much of America celebrated and honored those who served in the military on Veterans Day, Filipinos look at it is as a painful reminder of injustice for Filipinos who served in World War II.

“They don’t recognize the Filipino as American veterans,” Art Garcia of Justice for Filipino American Veterans said. “We will go rallying and we will never stop.”

With the elderly veterans and widows driving alongside

Hundreds of activists and youth marched down Hollywood Boulevard calling for equal benefits to Filipino World War II veterans that were denied pensions equal to their American counterparts.

“I am relieved that they are trying to fight for our denied benefits,” World War II veteran Orencio Salem said. “We are not paid our benefits as a war veteran”

“We’re really here today to represent our Filipino American veterans as well as our Filipino people and ensure they voices are being heard,” UC Santa Barbara student Megan Foranda said. “Seventy years later, they have yet to be received or recognized by the US government.”

Former Philippine scout John Asipras remains one of the veterans whose lump sum claims were denied because his services could not be verified.

“I don’t know how it can happen,” John Aspiras, a World War II veteran, said. “That is why we have to do it. We have to say it. We have to tell them.”

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court denying a lawsuit brought on by veterans seeking equity last month, the battles continue through Congress with proposed bills that can grant full pensions and benefits to the veterans and their survivors.

You may contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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