December 15, 2016

Hirono-Gabbard Bill to Award Filipino Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Signed into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law today the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act introduced by Senator Mazie K. Hirono and Representative Tulsi Gabbard.

“The Filipino veterans of World War II overcame many challenges in their fight for compensation, family reunification, and verification of wartime service. By signing our bill into law, President Obama recognized these veterans’ courage and perseverance, both during the war and in the decades of battles for benefits that followed,” said Senator Hirono. “This day is only possible thanks to the commitment of veterans, families, and advocates in Hawaii and across the country who worked tirelessly to see this effort through Congress. While this recognition is long overdue, the Congressional Gold Medal is a fitting tribute to the sacrifice that these veterans made for our country.”

“Today, history has been made as President Obama signs into law our bill to honor the more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers that served our country during World War II,” said Representative Gabbard. “These loyal and courageous soldiers suffered, fought, with many giving up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war.  It has been an honor to personally get to know some of these veterans and their families, and to hear them humbly tell their courageous stories of service. Though less than 18,000 of our Filipino WWII veterans are still alive today, this recognition is a testament to each and every one of our Filipino WWII veterans who earned and deserve their place amongst our greatest generation. To our Filipino veterans, their families, and all who worked so hard to make today a reality, maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.”

“After enduring 75 years of injustice and humiliation, our Filipino World War II veterans regained their honor and dignity when Congress passed the Congressional Gold Medal Award - a historic bill which President Obama signed into law today. With deep gratitude, our nation has now come to fully recognize the service and sacrifice of our brave heroes who fought valiantly under the American flag,” said Major General Antonio Taguba (Retired), Chairman of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project.

“Today we celebrate the final step in the long-awaited process to award Filipino World War II veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal. We thank President Obama for signing this legislation to award our heroes with the highest civilian honor and reiterate our gratitude to our champions in Congress--especially Senator Hirono and Representative Gabbard--and advocates such as the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project and NaFFAA, for making sure the legacy of Filipino World War II veterans is never forgotten,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Director Christopher Kang.

S. 1555, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act, awards the medal collectively to the over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty and fought under the American flag during World War II.

Senator Hirono and Representative Gabbard will work together with the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project to organize Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies.