My name is Eddy M. Gana Jr. I am a second year graduate student at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. I am the chairperson of KmB / Pro-People Youth, a Filipino-American youth organization based in Los Angeles, California. Moreover, Pro-People Youth is an organizational member of Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), a national alliance of student and community organizations.
On behalf of the remaining 15,000 Filipino World War II Veterans both living in the United States and the Philippines and their 68,000 survivors, we appreciate your time and advocacy.
We thank you for your endearing support and would like to show our gratitude about S.3003 (Filipino Veterans Fairness Act). We are honored to have your commitment towards full equity.
During World War II, 250,000 Filipinos and 7,000 Filipino-Americans were drafted or volunteered to join the US Armed Forces to fight against Japanese Imperialism. Accordingly, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promised the same health and pension benefits as their fellow American soldiers.
But the Rescission Act of 1946 was signed exclusively denying Filipinos the benefits rightfully owed to them, their wives, and children. Out of the 66 countries that allied with the United States in World War II, the Philippines is the only country to be excluded full recognition and equity.
Over the years, veterans, their families, and other advocates have been fighting to fully reverse the Rescission Act. The successes towards full equity are limited and few, such as the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund of 2009 and the Filipino Veterans of WWII Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, which exclude widows and children. Time is not on the side of our elderly veterans passing away.
It is not too late to recognize Filipino World War II veterans and their wartime service as American veterans. It is not too late to correct this historical misstep of 71 years.