Advocates of Pinoy war vets still waiting for equity

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

July 30, 2014

LOS ANGELES – As another holiday passed, Filipino World War II veterans and their allies continue to wait for equity.

This week marked the 73rd anniversary of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East or USAFFE. On July 26, 1941, before WWII began, the US created forces in Asia which included the Philippines.

“This is the proof that the United States conscripted the Filipino soldiers, the entire Commonwealth Army of the Philippines in 1941,” said Arturo Garcia of Justice for Filipino-American Veterans. “So on July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the United States Armed Forces in the Far East – this combining the forces of the United States, including the Philippine Scouts and the army of the commonwealth.”

Despite efforts that many Filipino veterans have made during and after the war, Garcia says thousands are still waiting for lump sum payments that were denied to them because their services cannot be verified.

The problems with veterans have continued as delays in serving thousands of veterans were uncovered at the Veterans Affairs Administration. This prompted lawmakers to propose a $17 million overhaul of the VA.

Advocates are unsure if the changing of leadership in the VA can solve the problems of Filipino veterans.

“The problem is systematic,” said Garcia. “The Department of Veterans Affairs is the most corrupt American agency, and up to now there are 600,000 backlogs.”

While the number of surviving veterans continues to dwindle, there are even less USAFFE survivors. Advocates say they are continuing to lobby for legislation that could help give pensions to veterans and their widows.

“We are still lobbying up to now, and we are waiting for the results of the elections,” said Garcia. “Maybe if the Democrats will win our bill – the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill – which is still languishing in the Congress.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Mario
    30 July 2014 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    The former VA head Gen Senshiki, was appointed by Obama,for being the first General who criticize Pres George Bush.The Democrat control the house and Senate on the first term of Obama. Garcia still waiting for a Democrat help for the Filipino Veterans Bill. VA has a backlog of 600K on death panel(waiting list). This is what to expect on Obamacare, longer death panel. The Republican control house approved the $17M VA overhaul bill, hoping the Democrat control Senate will approve it.Garcia, it will be a Republican win for lower and upper house on 2014 election, what is your alternative.Do not vote for the party of liars.

  • kikay Pang0
    31 July 2014 at 4:33 am - Reply

    Filipinos doesn’t give up so easily when it comes to collecting free cash and benefits even their bogus application has been denied already and will re apply again with new fabricated background history.