Land of Lincolner’s pro-Pinoy vets’ bill

Barack Obama presses enactment
of Filipino war veterans’ equity bill

SENATORS Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced each other for the final Democratic debate before the March 4 primaries.
MANILA – In an apparent bid to win the support of Filipino Americans for his presidential bid, US Senator Barack Obama (Democrat from Illinois) pressed for the immediate enactment of the long-pending World War II veterans’ pension equity bill by the US Congress.
Obama, in a statement issued from Chicago, also expressed his oneness with Filipinos in marking the 22nd anniversary of the first “people power” that led to the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos.
“Twenty-two years after the People Power Revolution in the Philippines, we remember and commemorate the Filipino people who used the democratic, non-violent method of ‘people power’ to overthrow the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and end the martial law regime that ruled the Philippines for 14 years,” Obama said in a press statement sent to GMANews.TV by the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans based in Virginia.
“On this anniversary, I urge my colleagues in Congress to honor the Filipino veterans who bravely fought with American troops in World War II. Approximately 250,000 Filipino troops joined American forces to fight in World War II, but too many of these heroes are still being denied benefits. The time has come for Congress to honor the Filipino veterans of World War II by finally enacting the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007,” the statement further contained.
The Democratic presidential aspirant applauded Sen. Daniel Akaka, chairman of the US Senate committee on veterans affairs, for spearheading efforts for the enactment of the equity bill.
Obama vowed to “continue to urge my colleagues to provide the benefits and recognition these veterans deserve.”
The number of Filipino World War II veterans who stand to benefit from the pending bill at the US Congress has dwindled to 18, 155, Philippine Ambassador to the US Willy Gaa reported in June last year to the American legislature.
The equity bill seeks to grant ageing Filipinos who fought under the American flag during WWII with at least $7,329 worth of benefits, which regular US veterans are currently receiving.
These benefits include veterans’ health care, service-connected disability compensation, non-service connected disability compensation, dependent indemnity compensations, death pension and full burial benefits.

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