Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Senate Approval of Legislation to Provide Benefits to Filipino Veterans of World War II
"I am pleased to have supported earlier today critical legislation that enhances important insurance, housing and other benefits available to our veterans. Among the key elements of the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act was a provision to restore health and pension benefits to Filipino veterans who fought for the United States during World War II. This provision was based on Senator Inouye's Filipino Veterans Equity Act of which I am a proud co-sponsor. Indeed, Senator Inouye and the Filipino veterans of World War II have long been fighting to restore the benefits they deserve, and I am proud to have supported rectifying this injustice since I entered the Senate in 2001. While some sought to pass an amendment that would have stripped the Filipino veterans' benefits provision from the bill, I was proud to oppose this amendment and to ultimately vote for final passage of the bill with the full slate of benefits that our Filipino veterans deserve.
In 1942 President Roosevelt issued an order conscripting Filipino soldiers into the United States Armed Forces, and more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers joined our ranks in the months before and days following the attack on Pearl Harbor. These men served on the battlefield and fought courageously along side American servicemembers throughout World War II, took part in the guerilla resistance and suffered in prisoner of war camps, including the infamous Bataan Death March in which untold numbers of Americans and Filipinos suffered and died under brutal conditions. We promised these Filipino veterans the same health and pension benefits as those received by American servicemembers, but shortly after the war Congress rescinded the benefits to which the Filipino veterans would have otherwise been entitled.
It is clear that the Filipino veterans played an important role in the service of our nation during the Second World War, and I am pleased that such an important step was taken today to restore to them the benefits that they have long merited."