"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

A hopeful turn in Filipino veterans' quest for equity

Many thanks, Commissioner Baldonado, for getting out this statement. May I highlight the last of its three Talking Points, which states: "VEC supports SB 1315 and will continue to work with veterans advocates for its passage. In doing so, it will not abandon its advocacy for full equity."

However, I'm worried that the said VEC statement also mentions a letter that you supposedly sent to Speaker Pelosi requesting "that a comparable bill to SB 1315 be introduced and heard as soon as possible." Hopefully this is only a matter of semantics and doesn't actually mean to confuse the issue about the need for early passage of the veterans' bill in the House that is subject of all these discussions. Needless to state, VEC's full support would be pivotal in this regard and, subsequently, that of the president's signature.

Mabuhay kayo and the other supporters and friends of our veterans.

d. grava

In a message dated 5/26/2008 7:23:23 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, JoyBruce@aol.com writes:

Speaker Pelosi needs to hear from advocates from all over the country. Urge her to keep this a high priority (people outside of S.F. should send messages to D.C. office at (202) 225-4965 (Washington, DC) or email your letterr to http://speaker.house.gov/contact/

It only takes a few minutes to copy, paste and send the following letter to your representatives (feel free to edit). PLEASE HELP US MAKE IT HAPPEN! Numbers always count. This is the time for our voices to be heard.

I have included the email contact information for the various congresspersons, so that you can also EMAIL IN ADDITION TO FAXING the letter to their respective offices. Please copy and paste to your browser the contact information, to reach your representatives.

https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml will assist you by identifying your Congressperson in the U.S. House of Representatives and providing contact information.

Dear Representative _______________________

On April 24, the Senate passed S. 1315 by the overwhelming bipartisan vote of 96-1, and it is time for the House to follow suit This bill includes provisions to restore US veteran status for Filipinos and provide them with the resources they need to live out the remainder of their lives with the honor and dignity their service to this country in World War II deserves. Nationals from more than 60 other countries who also served under
U.S. command received U.S. veteran status- Filipinos were singled out for discriminatory treatment. Out of the original 250,000 Filipino soldiers originally called to serve, there are only 18,000 veterans left, and the time is now to rectify the 62-year injustice done to these few brave soldiers who remain.

Time is running out for this bill, and we strongly urge your leadership on this important issue. This bill is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE to our community and we call on you to support this bill in its current form and to vote for it when it comes to a floor vote. We strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to weaken the provisions of the bill.

Memorial Day is a time when we commemorate the service of all veterans and there is no better way to make sure we treat ALL veterans with the dignity and honor their service deserves. Our aging, frail Veterans on the blink of extinction, had served in WWII under the American Flag, and are still seeking recognition of their services,. Denying our soldiers the benefits promised to them is unconscionable. This is no way to meet that commitment, not to mention the wrong message to send to soldiers deployed in the battlefield who had sacrificed and risked their lives for the sake of freedom and justice. Please do not make a grave mistake in the name of fairness, equality, or even fiscal responsibility. Please do what is right, and support the "Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act", S 1315.

Thank you for your time.

, State and ZipCode

In a message dated 5/18/2008 9:56:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, nestor143@comcast.net writes:

As in the past, the Jewish War Veterans supports passage of the "Filipino Veterans Equity Act" (HR 760). Chairman Bob Filner introduced this bill last year, following the introduction of the Senate companion by Senator Daniel Inouye. This important legislation would restore all the benefits that were promised to Filipino World War II veterans only to be rescinded by the 1946 Congress. The bill had hearings in February and April, and both the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee reported the bill out of committee during the summer. Currently, the bill is awaiting floor votes in both houses (senate approves 2 weeks ag0) Unfortunately, while the Congress waits, more of these brave soldiers pass on without official recognition of their selfless service to the during World War II. Out of the approximately 200,000 Filipinos who had been called to serve, only 18,000 remain. These men were drafted into service by President Roosevelt as nationals and stood shoulder to shoulder with soldiers from the in some of the most grueling battles of the war, including the infamous Bataan Death March.

In a message dated 5/26/2008 9:29:44 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Dcgrava@aol.com writes:

Serious charges are being hurled against the persons of Regalado Baldonado and the VEC people headed by Atty. Lourdes Tancinco. I think it is to their best interest that they present their respective sides on this issue. If it is true that they have in effect sabotaged prospects for the passage of S. 1315, may we ask them to explain why? If it is mainly a case of amor propio -- they reportedly have been pushing for an all-or-nothing scenario -- may we request that at this juncture, please, please reconsider their position on behalf of our aging, ailing veterans. We are all aware that only few of our veterans are around to enjoy whatever benefit, if any, that may be forthcoming. They are such of advanced age that everyday many are dying and those that are still around are making do with very meager existence. You must be aware that most of them are in penury, lumped in a single rental room in order to economize and there are even those who sell their blood in order to subsist. Maawa naman tayo, please. Anyway, if subject bill passes, that would not be the end of everything. We can still advocate for additional benefits later. The important thing is that their situation can be alleviated soonest. The luxury of dreaming for a possible better deal in the future may be alright but what is of paramount importance is NOW.

Dionesio Grava

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