"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


S. 1315 also known as "The Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act" aims not only to provide improved benefits for all U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan but it would also fulfill a commitment, made more than 60 years ago , to Filipino soldiers, who fought gallantly alongside their American comrades-in arms under the same American Flag in World War II. It passed the U.S. Senate last April with a bipartisan vote of 96 to 1. Anytime now, it will be brought to the floor of the U.S. Congress for deliberation.

When WW II broke out, Franklin D. Roosevelt called on the Filipinos to join the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East ( USAFFE) to fight against the Japanese. Some 250,000 Filipino answered the call and fought gallantly and with distinction, under the American flag, in many battle fronts in the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor.

The courageous joint defensive efforts put up by Filipino and American soldiers in the Philippines , albeit ending in defeat, fatally altered the Japanese timetable for the successful invasion of the Pacific area, including Australia and New Zealand. In more ways than one, it is not a self-serving statement to say that the courageous and honorable efforts of our Filipino veterans of WW II, saved many American families from having to take care of their own widows, widowers and orphans.

By some strokes of ill fortune, however, the status of these Filipino WWII soldiers as “U.S. Veterans” was stripped by the February 18, 1946
Rescission Act under Truman on the ground that since the Philippines was granted independence in 1945, these Filipino veterans ceased to be U.S. Veterans! If this is not an injustice of the highest order, I could not say what is.

But as a Filipino American, S. 1315 to me is more than about justice to these aging Filipino Veterans of WWII, who honorably went to a war under the American flag. It is also all about America, our adopted country, recognizing at last and restoring to our Filipino WWII Veterans the honor befitting their invaluable service during those dark days.

S.1315 has become a personal matter to me because it also about the values upon which my adopted country, America, has forged its greatness. To a higher and emotional level, S. 1315 meant for me what it is to be an American with Filipino heritage.

It is about me and every FILAM trying to make sense NOW of our past, as Americans too, where our FILVETS under the American flag, met the full measure of a soldier’s gallantry in the fields of battle in Bataan and Corregidor, so that we, as Filipino Americans, could, with utmost confidence, share with our American children and their children, a part of this great legacy from our yesterday, that they may also stand, when their watch has arrive, as proud as we are, because though they may be Americans by the ircumstances of their birth, they are also , by the same circumstances, of Filipino heritage, too.

But time is against these old soldiers. Of the original 250, 000 Filipino soldiers who served under General Douglas McArthur in the U.S. Armed Forces in Far East (USAFFE) , only some 18,000 of them remain.

We, FILAMS, have to act NOW before it is too late for these FILVETS. Let us forget our differences with each other and forge the divide that separates us. Let us act as one people who puts a high premium on the values of commitment, honor, self-respect and gratitude.

Let us call on our congressional leadership and, ask them to vote and restore equity to our FILVETS that they may live out their twilight years with the full measure of honor and dignity their services rightfully deserve. By their support to S. 1315, their leadership honors the gallantry of these WWII Filipino veterans and their noble sacrifice to the American flag.

Profoundly, by their support, they have cleansed the DIGNITY of each and every Filipino American, of that stigma of ungratefulness, wrought about by the odious Rescission Act of February 18, 1946, and thus we, FILAMS can say, our leaders do indeed remember us.

For their support, we are eternally grateful. For their support, we shall not forget them.

Emerito F. Salud
677 Broad Street,
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
June 6, 2008

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