S. 1315 Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007 (including benefit provisions for Filipino World War II Veterans) sign now

We are writing to ask you to support S. 1315 Disabled Veterans Insurance Improvement Act of 2007, which was passed by the Senate on April 24, 2008, by a bi-partisan vote of 96 to 1, and to schedule it for approval by the House before the 110th Congress adjourns.

When enacted into law, S. 1315, an act to amend title 38 of the United States Code, will enhance US veterans' insurance and housing benefits, improve benefits and services for transitioning service members, and, more significantly to your Filipino-American constituents, enable Filipino World War II veterans to receive long overdue pensions and other benefits in recognition of their service as members of the US military.

Almost all Filipino-Americans are sons, daughters, grandchildren or relatives of these veterans, who courageously fought alongside American soldiers and put their lives on the line so that America would continue to enjoy the blessings of freedom, liberty and democracy. Time and time again, political and social leaders of the United States have expressed their appreciation and admiration for the efforts of Filipino veterans of World War II who heroically fought alongside their American counterparts in the battlefields of Bataan and Corregidor in the defense of democracy.

Madame Speaker and Members of the House Representatives, when World War II war broke out, the Philippines was a colony of the US. With the US hard-pressed, President Roosevelt ordered all able-bodied Filipino soldiers into service in the US Army, where they valiantly fought against the Japanese. As soldiers serving the United States of America, they should have been entitled to full VA benefits had not the Rescission Act of 1946, taken those benefits away.

Out of the estimated 472,000 Filipino soldiers listed by the US Army at the end of World War II, only about 22,000 remain today, 15,000 reside in the Philippines and 7,000 in the U.S. They are old and frail, in their 80s and 90s. Sixty-two years have passed since the Rescission Act, and thousands of these valiant and gallant Filipino veterans have passed away. Time is running out for the few that remain.

While we are heartened by the momentum of support that is building around this bill, we call on our representatives, regardless of party affiliation, to vote for this measure. To the Filipino-American community in the United States, this is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It is a non-partisan matter of doing what is right. Therefore, we are deeply concerned that the House of Representatives under your able leadership may not act quickly enough to see this bill through. There is growing frustration and disgust among our grassroots supporters over the perceived inaction -- justified or not -- that may doom passage of S. 1315 this year. Nevertheless, we remain confident that a bipartisan consensus will prevail in the House as it did in the Senate.

Although we had hoped that S.1315 would have been approved before July 26, 2008, which marked the anniversary of President Roosevelts calling Filipino soldiers into service under U.S. command during World War II, it is still not too late for you to seize this historic moment and make good Americas promise to these veterans.

Madame Speaker, the Council of Philippine American Organizations of San Diego County (COPAO), its 58 member organizations, and the more than 3 million Filipino-Americans, who now live and work in this great nation of ours, urge you to act decisively and call for a House vote before the 110th Congress adjourns. We implore you and the Members of the House of Representatives to do so now, because next year may be too late. We are looking up to you and our representatives from both parties, to right this wrong and give our veterans their long-delayed day of justice after 62 long years.

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  • 04 January 2016439. Rosalyn B
    Mabuhay!! Very Deserving
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    I support this petition
  • 23 December 2015437. Willie S
    Please take care of our world war II Veterans
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    Now is the time- very deserving filipinos
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Staci BrightBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
The Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives

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