HIRONO, HELLER, MENG FIGHT TO ENSURE FILIPINO VETERANS RECEIVE EARNED BENEFITS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Dean Heller (R-NV) joined with Congresswoman Grace Meng in introducing the Filipino Veterans Promise Act, a bipartisan bill that would help all Filipino World War II veterans receive benefits that they earned for their service to the United States. These veterans fought alongside Americans, but were denied veterans’ benefits because they weren’t included on rosters that the United States later used to establish service.
“We have heard the stories of how numerous Filipino soldiers were afraid to record their names during World War II for fear the enemy would obtain roster lists and retaliate against them,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “This bill will provide Filipino World War II veterans a process to prove that they indeed served and are eligible for the benefits they’ve been promised. We must now work to ensure every surviving veteran who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American forces receives this well-earned benefit.”
“Many Filipino veterans who served during World War II call Nevada home. Unfortunately, they have yet to receive the benefits they earned and deserve. The Filipino Veterans Promise Act helps fulfill America’s promise and ensures these veterans are treated fairly and with respect,” said Senator Heller. “Since my first days in the Senate, I have fought for this legislation because of its importance to the Filipino community. That’s why I take great pride in this bill. I am pleased Senator Hirono and Congresswoman Meng joined in introducing this piece of bipartisan legislation.”
“Filipino veterans are entitled to the same recognition and benefits that all former U.S. service members receive,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng.“Filipino veterans made huge sacrifices for America during World War II. They fought side by side with U.S. troops and put their lives on the line to preserve and protect our democracy. It is unconscionable that they continue to be denied the benefits they earned for their service to our country. We must immediately right this wrong and provide Filipino veterans with the benefits that they have been owed for far too long. That is why I am sponsoring this important bill, and I urge all my colleagues in both chambers to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”
After World War II, the U.S. Army created the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster of 1948, also known as the “Missouri List,” based on individuals who came forward after the war to receive health care. This list has been used by the military to verify those who served alongside U.S. troops in the Philippines. It is possible that some Filipinos who fought were not added to this list and could be improperly denied benefits.
The Filipino Veterans Promise Amendment would direct the Department of Defense (DOD), in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to establish a process for determining whether certain individuals meet the necessary service requirements to receive veterans’ benefits and subsequently be verified as a Veteran by the United States Army.
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