President Obama signs law to recognize WWII Filipino vets

By:  HNN Staff

The president has signed into law a measure that will award Filipino veterans of World War II the Congressional Gold Medal.

Under the legislation, over 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Franklin Roosevelt's call-to-duty will be awarded the nation's highest civilian honor.

The measure was sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

Hawaii's congressional leaders have been pushing for the measure to recognize the approximately 18,000 Filipino WWII veterans still alive in the U.S., as most of them are in their 90s.

“The Filipino veterans of World War II overcame many challenges in their fight for compensation, family reunification, and verification of wartime service," Hirono said, in a news release. "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."

Gabbard said, "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."

Hirono and Gabbard said they'd work with the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project to organize Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies.