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Phillippine Veterans Information

M

MAJOR_Baker

Guest
There was some question a few weeks ago about Phillipino soldiers fighting (I wonder why they would fight against the Japanese, weren‘t they liberators :p ) with the US army and that they never received the compensation promised them....

Please see link explaining citizenship below:

http://www.corvalliscommunitypages.com/asia_pacific/hawaii_guam_phillipnes/fiipinoamwwii.htm

I quoted from the act below:

Section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990 was enacted to make naturalization under Section 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act available to those Filipino World War II veterans whose military service during the liberation of the Philippines makes them deserving of United States citizenship. The authority to allow the veterans to be naturalized in the Philippines was first granted under Section 113 of the Fiscal Year 1993 Department of Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary Appropriations Act.
Also I am working on getting the information for Veteran Benefits.


I have to say this, please people; if you are going to be insulting to my Nation and Army please get your facts straight. I joke around about Canada but I have never once insulted the CDN military, I expect the same from professionals :salute:
 

Spr.Earl

Army.ca Veteran
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Sherwood,we are both right and wrong. ;)


Late war payoff welcome




Filipino veterans will take it, yet still ask their full share

By Michael Stetz
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

December 22, 2003

First came all the horror and dread a war can bring â “ pain and misery and bullet wounds and the sight of dead bodies, decaying in the heat.

Now comes, at long last, recognition for enduring this.

Manuel Braga, a Filipino veteran of World War II, will take it. He wants more, but for now he will take it.

President Bush signed a bill Tuesday that will allow Braga to enjoy Veterans Affairs health benefits.

For decades, Filipino war veterans such as Braga, drafted to fight in World War II, when the Philippines was still a U.S. terrority, didn‘t have that right.

They enjoyed few, if any, veterans‘ perks because they weren‘t considered equal to U.S. war veterans.

"This is something big for us," said Braga, 77, a Spring Valley resident who is 2nd vice commander of the Filipino World War II Veterans Federation of San Diego County. "It recognizes us as veterans."

He is a veteran in every sense of the word.

The Japanese captured him three times, but he managed to escape each time. He once got away by swimming across a river. The river was thick with crocodiles. He didn‘t think twice before he jumped in.

Isabelo Torio, another of these veterans, was among the 70,000 captured American and Filipino soldiers who were forced to march 55 to 65 miles to prison camps, a hellish ordeal that became known as the Bataan Death March. Torio saw soldiers so dehydrated they drank from a brook that was full of bloated bodies.

They were young when they became warriors. Some were not yet 16, but they were needed. It wasn‘t long after their attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 that the Japanese came to the Philippines, in hopes of quickly conquering the South Pacific nation.

The Filipino soldiers fought side-by-side with Americans, and the combined forces did the remarkable, holding off the Japanese for months early in the war. Later, after U.S. forces surrendered the islands to the Japanese, a domestic resistance force caused all kinds of ****.

Even so, the Filipino veterans didn‘t get the goodies afterward.

They‘ve been lobbying for years to gain equal status with other veterans of war, but that victory has been far from easy, as well.

They are aging fast. Many of their brethren have died, waiting.

But those who remain are vigilant. They seek more benefits, particularly monetary ones, such as pension disability rights.

They‘ve earned it, they say.

During an interview in Mira Mesa, one 85-year-old veteran yanked down his shirt collar to show a scar. "I got shot in the neck," Ciriaco Bongalos said.


Many questions
These veterans are mystified as well as angry.
Why so few benefits? They never had the chance to get loans to buy houses or go to college under the G.I. Bill of Rights, for instance.

For years, they couldn‘t become U.S. citizens.

In San Diego County, this controversy hits home in a big way. This area has one of the larger Filipino populations in the nation.

California is home to most of these U.S.-residing veterans. About 8,000 of them live in the United States. About 21,000 remain in the Philippines.

Local congressmen such as Bob Filner, D-San Diego, whose South Bay district is populated with many Filipinos, and Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Escondido, a Vietnam War veteran, have been pushing for reforms.

"It‘s an important first step," said Filner, who was present at the bill signing. With this law, Filipino veterans â “ for the first time since the end of World War II â “ are now seen as U.S. veterans, he said.

"We still have a ways to go," he added. Supporters also are trying to award benefits to Filipino veterans still living in the Philippines.

Several hundred Filipino World War II veterans call this county home, estimates Resty Supnet of Mira Mesa, the commander of the Filipino World War II Veterans Federation of San Diego.

Many get by solely on Social Security benefits, Supnet said.

"We, the Filipino World War II veterans are drowning in frustration and hopelessness," Supnet wrote in a letter to President Bush earlier this year, asking for help. "We constantly ask ourselves, why does America, the country we love and fought for, continue to ignore our sad plight?"

Their road has never been easy. When fighting, they were armed with outdated, World War I-era weapons. They had meager supplies. Food was scarce.

They had guts, though. Lots of guts.


Daring deeds
Supnet, for one, joined the guerrilla resistance movement in May 1943 when he was only 16. He helped the resistance discover an informant operating in his hometown. It cost him, though. The Japanese figured him to be the source of the information and tortured him.
At one point, he was beaten on the back of the head with a 2-foot long steel baton.

Released after he refused to talk, Supnet rejoined the guerrilla movement and took part in ambushes against the Japanese.

When the U.S. forces returned, he helped them free his nation.

And now, the 76-year-old said, he waits for justice.

It was in 1946 that the injustice occurred, say these veterans. That‘s when the Philippines was granted independence, and the U.S. washed its hands of the Filipino veterans.

Money was and is one of the key issues. It would have cost billions to absorb these veterans, according to some estimates. As many as 200,000 Filipinos are estimated to have served the Allied cause.

Critics, however, say the Filipino soldiers had plenty of impetus to fight regardless, that they were doing so to free their own nation from Japanese occupation and, ultimately, win independence.

Slowly, these veterans are making gains. In the early 1990s, those who served were granted the chance to gain U.S. citizenship. Many did so and came here, hoping for a better life, particularly if benefits were to be won.

It hasn‘t been a simple journey, though.

Max Sajol, 76, gets $630 a month in Social Security benefits. His rent is $400. The Filipino veteran, who also is a Mira Mesa resident, was shot in the back of the leg during a battle, is at a loss to understand the lack of veterans‘ benefits.

"I just don‘t know why."


Remembering Bataan
Oh, there are so many, many stories to be heard when these aging veterans look back. They gather often at the Mira Mesa Senior Center, to hold meetings.
Some are in wheelchairs.

One is missing an arm.

One veteran, Winnie Larino, worked as an informant for the U.S. forces, supplying them with information about Japanese military movements and the like.

She was 14.

She had a job working in a fancy restaurant where Japanese military leaders met. Larino, who had studied Japanese earlier, listened to their conversations.

Was she scared? "No, if I was scared, they would suspect me. I just went with the flow of the other girls," said Larino, now 77.

Torio, the Bataan Death March survivor, was among those who fought Japanese soldiers as they invaded the Philippines just days after the Pearl Harbor attack.

It was a fight with unfair odds. Japanese planes strafed and bombed them, said Torio, who lives in Rancho Bernardo. Still, they warred fiercely, he said.

It was only a matter of time, however, before the U.S. and Filipino forces had to withdraw and surrender. Then came the Death March.

His memories are crisp. Soldiers were marching aimlessly, the victims of mental breakdowns, he said. He saw some shot or bayoneted by Japanese guards.

He himself became delirious and, at one point, fell to the ground. He remembers seeing a Japanese guard affix his bayonet on his rifle. Torio gathered the strength to get up, to keep moving.

Today, like other survivors, he wonders.

Why are they not equals with the other World War II veterans?

And how much longer will they wait?

Supnet, the commander of this organization, says they will continue the fight.

"We will wait and see, and pray and pray and pray."
 
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